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School bus driver offers tips for parents, students

The Madison Elementary School District bus fleet is shown. (KTAR Photo/Christina Estes)

PHOENIX -- A new school year brings thousands of buses filled with students across Arizona, but some kids may not make it home as easily as parents expect.

"We hope that it doesn't happen, but we know it will with so many new kids coming on who haven't ridden a bus before," said Armando Cuellar, transportation supervisor for the Madison Elementary School District in Phoenix.

Cuellar oversees a fleet of 32 buses that move about 2,100 students every day. He said the biggest challenge is old information.

"Some parents haven't updated their addresses in the school records and that's what [drivers] go by."

Cuellar suggested parents write the correct address on a piece of paper and place it in a backpack or other item their child carries. Cuellar said it's also important for parents to talk to students about talking to drivers - especially if there's a problem.

"They see the bus driver and have that little fear that the bus driver is talking to me and think ‘What did I do?' and they clam up really tight," he said.

Cuellar said parents should make sure their kid know the driver's name and the driver knows their child's name.

He said if a driver cannot determine the child's correct address then the bus will return to school where a parent will be called to pick up the student.

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