Kim Powell, Batesville, says, “Sixteen years ago, I just thought I needed a job. A friend of mine, Steve Macke, told me about a bus driver opening, and I was hired.
“I enjoy the primary kids. They are still adorable. We have so much fun.”
However, the men admit there are some difficulties associated with the profession. Powell announces, “Middle school kids are the challenge. They push your buttons.”
Westerfeld notes, “Each student is different, and sometimes you deal with issues you don’t want to deal with. Plus, the weather sometimes makes driving difficult .... We have a lot of responsibility.”
Discipline is another issue, Obermeyer reports. “Kids are not perfect at home, and they’re not perfect on the bus .... If I have a problem, I try to work it out with the kids first. If the parents are already involved, I talk to them.”
The Batesville Community School Corp. employees have noticed changes through the years. “Kids are bolder today and less attentive to discipline. I have to discipline more now than 15-20 years ago,” Obermeyer observes.
“On a whole, kids are more active in sports and in school .... There are so many kids that get into academic teams and trying to excel in their education. A lot of them are in sports, which helps them learn teamwork.”
Also, “we don’t have to put tire chains on anymore ... and buses are so much better to drive than when I first started with a standard transmission. It’s so much safer for the kids and the driver. Radios and cameras are great assets. If you have problems, you call in, and you can pull the (camera) tape to see exactly what happened if something’s going on.”
Westerfeld points out, “With the computer age, everything is changing.”
Gutzwiller agrees, “So many kids have cell phones and electronic devices .... (and) 20 years ago, you didn’t hear about these little kids breaking up with so and so.”