The David Crockett High School bell rings at 2:45 pm on the dot, every Monday through Friday. Bus 13-68 is always there, waiting for its students.
Bus driver Rena Cutshall has served Washington County Schools part-time for 41 years.
“In a school of 1,200 kids, I can pick out my brood in a heartbeat as they walk across the lawn toward the buses in the afternoon,” said Cutshall.
On a good day, Cutshall’s bus route takes an hour and a half in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. She delivers approximately 40 students safely to their destinations every weekday.
“I always say good morning to them and ask how they’re doing,” said Cutshall. “A lot of them do not get any attention at home.”
In order to remain qualified to drive children, Cutshall must attend sessions at the beginning of each school year. This is to remind her of basic safety rules and policy changes. Cutshall was originally trained by her sister, who rode the bus route with her at first.
“[She taught me to] keep my bus clean and make sure it is in good running order,” said Cutshall.
Occasionally, Cutshall experiences some discipline issues on her bus route. Cutshall will first talk with the student to see what the problem is, and remind the child of the expected behavior on the bus. On the student’s second offense, he or she is moved to the front seat of the bus, directly behind Cutshall. As a last resort, Cutshall will appeal to the David Crockett High School Principal.
“High schoolers tend to be cooperative,” said Cutshall. “But there is always a lemon in the barrel!”
Cutshall believes that the most important attribute of a school bus driver is consistency.
“If you mean it today,” said Cutshall, “you have to mean it tomorrow!”