Buster the School Bus arrives ahead of new school year

Dozens of bus drivers for Carter County Schools gathered at the bus garage Wednesday morning to prepare for the upcoming school year Monday, but a new arrival in the school fleet made a special appearance: Buster the remote-controlled school bus.

Safety Coordinator Missy Ward said Buster is with Tennessee Risk Management, who lets the happy little bus tour the state as part of an educational program.

“They loan him out to the school system to teach about bus safety,” Ward said.

For many younger children, she said school busses can be a scary experience, particularly since elementary school children are not normally used to being away from their parents for long periods of time.

“They often do not know how to behave on a bus,” she said. “There is a danger from not behaving. We want them to start learning good practices.”

Many safety presentations come from adults or older kids, both of whom can be difficult to relate with. Buster is a child himself, complete with flashing lights and his own voice to talk to the students. He comes to the classrooms all on his own to teach his message.

“He will be doing all the talking,” Ward said.

Buster will teach about how to safely board and exit the bus, as well as what the various lights and whistles mean on the bus itself, among other safety topics.

She said she cannot wait to see the schools’ reactions to seeing Buster for the first time.

“I am excited to excite the kids,” she said. “They will love him. He is loveable.”

Buster will not be in Carter County forever, though. As part of his work with Tennessee Risk Management, Buster will be in town until about the second week in September before hitting the road to see other sights.

“This is a great way to teach the smaller kids,” Ward said. “We just hope to show kids busses are not bad. Busses are good.”

Buster himself had something to say to the kids he will soon be visiting.

“Get ready,” Buster said. “Buster is on his way.”

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