u201cThe students on the bus quickly became MY kids!u201d
“Without us the system would crumble — children would have no way to get to school, there would be no one to prepare and serve nutritious breakfasts and lunches, and school buildings would be dirty and unsafe.” — Lisa Brashears
In 1989, I was the mother of two young children. I wanted to find an occupation that allowed me to be home when my children were out of school. “No better job than working for the school board,” I thought to myself. So I applied to be a school bus driver. At first it was just a paycheck, then something happened that was unexpected. I LOVED it!
I loved working with the children. The students on the bus quickly became MY kids! We were like a family. I was so proud of how polite and well-behaved they were. I never had a moment’s problem with them. Anytime I had to be off work, the substitute bus driver would find me the next day to say how great MY kids were.
I took the advice I got early in my training to heart: “You are the first Frederick County Public Schools employee they see in the morning and the last one they see in the afternoon.” With that in mind, I’ve said “Good morning!” and “Have a good evening!” to every child on my bus every school day for the past 29 years.
I’ve traveled to and from every school in the county and met and worked with many colleagues — most of them have multiple jobs just to make ends meet. In today’s economy, that is unacceptable! We are hard workers and deserve a living wage. Support professionals are the foundation of every school system. Without us the system would crumble — children would have no way to get to school, there would be no one to prepare and serve nutritious breakfasts and lunches, and school buildings would be dirty and unsafe. The list could go on and on!
I’m serving my third term on our Frederick Association of School Support Employees (FASSE) Board of Directors. Our union is strong and getting stronger!
FASSE has improved our health care, raised our personal leave from two to three days annually, raised bus driver annual stipends, and most importantly, fought for our raises. FASSE goes to bat for us on contractual issues and sponsors a staff development program offering technical and professional workshops that is second to none in the country.
At the end of the day I can say I am proud to be a Frederick County Public Schools employee and especially proud to be a FASSE member.