Negative stories of bus drivers leaving students, forgetting students, or making them late for school are common, especially with the rise of social media. One West Side school bus operator is being recognized for the opposite. She made sure students had a safe, timely ride to school, even a student who was not assigned to her bus.
Jackie Noble, who has been with Student Transportation Specialists (STS) in West Baton Rouge since its inception, pulled over after seeing a student walking to school along La. 415 on Wednesday morning.
School Board member Teri Bergeron passed the student at the same time and began to turn around. Bergeron takes a particular interest in watching school buses because her mother was a school bus operator for more than 30 years.
At first, she thought the student missed the bus and planned to help him herself.
“When I looked up, I wondered what that bus driver was doing,” Bergeron said. “She put on her flashers, got off the bus and was waving for the child to come. And he took off running.”
Bergeron noted the bus number, then told her fellow WBR School Board members of the gesture hoping to find the driver who took the time to stop. The lady Bergeron saw waving to the student was the bus monitor, Sheri Gros, Noble said.
“We both acted upon this with mutual feelings,” Noble said in a Facebook comment. “It was unsafe for that young man to be on the highway and he needed to get to school.”
Noble has been in the transportation industry for seven years. She has worked with STS in West Baton Rouge Schools since its inception three years ago. Noble is an operator and the disciplinarian for STS in WBR Schools.
“She is the model employee,” Brian Steward, manager of STS in WBR Schools said. “Always on time, never calls off, attentive. That’s just who she is.”
In addition to being a school bus operator, Noble is the disciplinarian for STS in WBR Schools. That position speaks to the level of trust the West Baton Rouge School District has in her, as well as the reputation she maintains, Steward said.
Noble went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure every student made it to school on Wednesday, Superintendent Wes Watts said. The student is not a regular bus rider, but Noble did not even question him when she invited him onto the bus, Steward said.
“There are so many regulations today, sometimes they won’t do something because they’re scared they’re going to make the wrong call, but that’s the right thing to do no matter what,” Watts said. “It made my day.”
School board members were touched both by Noble’s compassion and the student’s passion for learning and making it to school, even if it meant the hard way.
“Some kids may have missed the bus and just stayed home, but there he was walking,” Bergeron said.