RPSB highlights bus operators for National School Bus Safety Week

This week, RPSB will highlight bus operators for National School Bus Safety Week.
This week, RPSB will highlight bus operators for National School Bus Safety Week.(RPSB)
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 1:27 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2021 at 8:49 AM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (RPSB) - The Rapides Parish School Board is bringing awareness to transportation safety this week in honor of National School Bus Safety Week. One of the many priorities the Rapides Parish School District has is to ensure safety for many of its students. Each day, RPSB plans to highlight one of many bus operators on the importance of child safety in buses.

Oct. 22, 2021:

Our final bus driver for this week is LaDonna Hunt.

LaDonna Hunt
LaDonna Hunt(RPSB)

LaDonna Hunt has been a bus driver for over 17 years. She is currently driving at Glenmora High School.

“I love my job and my kids,” Hunt said. “Believe it or not, riding the bus is a privilege whether the parents and kids think so or not. Over the years, I have told my bus kids to remember The Golden Rule and to treat others like you would want to be treated. Safety first is how we roll!”

Hunt shares with us a few safety tips:

  1. Be on time at the bus stop, and be prepared to get on the bus.
  2. Make eye contact with the bus driver and move quickly when loading and unloading. (I feel as if this is the most dangerous part of transporting children.)
  3. Once you are on the bus, stay in your assigned seat. (This allows the driver when he or she looks in the mirror to know if you are on the bus that day.)
  4. Do not distract the driver, and keep the noise level at a minimum.
  5. No eating or drinking on the bus. (It’s a choking hazard but this also helps keep the bus clean.)
  6. Respect yourself and everyone else on the bus.

Oct. 21, 2021:

Thursday’s bus operator is Rev. Wesley Lotts, Jr.

Rev. Wesley Lotts, Jr.
Rev. Wesley Lotts, Jr.(RPSB)

“I have been married to my wife Betty for 52 years,” said Rev. Lotts, Jr. “We have three children, and I have pastored Wooddale Baptist Church for 28 years. I have been driving for RPSB for 26 years. I started in August 1995, two years after being called to the ministry. Before my employment with RPSB as a substitute driver, I began my driving career with ‘J & M Poultry’. I drove for several concrete plants, and I drove 18-wheelers cross-country. Because of my love for transporting our most precious cargo, the students of Rapides Parish, I inspired three of my brothers to become operators of RPSB.”

He continued, “Driving has always been my specialty and passion. My years with the Rapides Parish School Board as an operator and minister, allowed me to touch many operators by setting a respectful example. I treat the students as if they were my own by caring for them and giving them positive instruction. Over the years, the greatest reward of driving the students, is for them to approach me as an adult and tell me how they appreciate me as their driver and for helping them become a better person.”

Oct. 20, 2021:

Wednesday’s bus operator is Shirley Joffrion.

Shirley Joffrion
Shirley Joffrion(RPSB)

On this third day of National School Bus Safety Week, we highlight Shirley Joffrion. Mrs. Joffrion has been a contracted bus operator for RPSB since August 19, 1988. For the past 32 years, she has been an exemplary employee, one who has strived to represent RPSB Transportation Department in the best of light. Her driving record portrays this. She shows a love for her profession and especially her “kids.” She is always ready to help in any situation whether physically helping or giving sage advice. We thank you, Mrs. Joffrion, for all that you do for Rapides Parish School District.

Oct. 19, 2021:

Tuesday’s bus operator is Johnny Augustine.

Johnny Augustine
Johnny Augustine(RPSB)

“I have been transporting students safely for 40 years,” Augustine said. “There are some of my students riding my bus now that I’ve transported their grandparents to school when they were kids. Due to covid restrictions, hand sanitizers and masks are required. All students have assigned seats. All students who are related to each other, are assigned seats together to deter the spread of covid. En route, during transport, when it is safe, I scan the students on the bus to make sure they are not misbehaving, but a bus driver is unable to see every inch of the interior of the bus. I encourage my students and parents to let me know, if there is a problem that I am not aware of on my bus. I can immediately address the issue. There will be no bullying, or discrimination of any kind on my watch. I love all my students. That’s why safety is a top priority to me, as a Rapides Parish School Bus Driver.

Mon. 18, 2021:

Monday’s bus operator is Tim Gipe.

Tim Gipe
Tim Gipe(RPSB)

“I have been driving as a contract bus operator for 24 years,” Gipe said. “I was a sub bus operator for five years. I started driving for Poland Junior High, Phoenix and I had Parochial Route and now, I am back at Poland Junior High School where I hope to retire from. Also, I am a 1976 graduate of Poland Junior High School. My safety comes from growing up on a farm and I run it now. There are all kinds of hazards of all sorts no matter where or what you are operating and whomever you are responsible for. My students are my #1 priority.”

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