Wyatt’s wish came true and his fellow students cheered as he rode the bus.
Anthony Pollard, transportation supervisor for Baldwin County Public Schools, arranged for Wyatt to have a “special” ride on the bus. Like most mothers, Wyatt’s mom, Farrah Combs, wanted to make sure it would be okay for Wyatt to ride the bus each day to school. Wyatt is on the spectrum and will ride a special needs bus to Fairhope Elementary School and with mom’s approval, Wyatt will begin riding the bus to school soon.
For Wyatt, he had been told by his mom that when he turned 10 he could ride the bus. While on the “special” bus ride around Fairhope, Alabama, Wyatt exclaimed that he must be “10” today because he is riding the bus.
The ride recognized not only Wyatt, but the many others in the Baldwin County Public School system that ride or have ridden special-needs buses. Baldwin County Public Schools includes 46 special-needs routes, featuring a para educator on each special-needs bus, who are trained above and beyond state requirements, along with the bus driver, to assist students with physical and mental challenges. All special-needs buses are air conditioned and contain safety belts, ramps and other items specifically designed for the students.
Wyatt’s bus driver, Grace Tyler, said she was excited to transport Wyatt, along with his best friend James, on the school bus. James and Wyatt will be among nine others that will ride regularly to school on the special-needs bus. Tyler, along with other bus drivers, take part in specialized training to ensure each student is safe while being transported to and from school daily.
Drivers and para educators go above and beyond by remaining in constant contact with the parents and guardians. This provides them peace of mind and makes them aware of any changes that may have taken place before, during or after routes. Drivers and para educators complete evacuation plans and receive proper training when dealing with school bus emergencies.
“We work directly with Special Services in planning and preparation. Our staff attends Special Services meetings, provides training to Special Services staff, and works to ensure everyone is aware of changes involving transportation,” said Pollard.