GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga - Students are heading back to school in the largest district in the state Tuesday morning as the county searches for dozens more bus drivers.
Those drivers will join the 1,600 existing drivers – after they spend 55 hours in a classroom before heading to the driving range.
Training lasts seven to eight weeks before the district allows new drivers to hit the road with students on board.
Driving trainers say it takes a special kind of person to do the job well.
“You can teach someone to drive a bus, but they really have to learn how to manage the children,” trainer Penny Macenczak said.
The county runs training sessions every two to three weeks. Longtim bus driver James Merritt is a recent graduate of the program. This is his first time driving kids.
“I don’t really expect it to be easy, but I expect it to be rewarding,” Merritt said.
“You can make a difference in a child’s life every day. We’re the constant. We’re always there,” Macenczak said.
The district says it asks each applicant two simple questions, “Do you love kids?” and, “Do you love to drive?”