- Last Updated on 06:21 AM 02/22/13
- BY Tiffany Hudson
With nearly three decades under his belt, Wayne Seamster believes things have really changed since he first began driving as a student bus driver.
Seamster drives bus 152 for the Halifax County Public School System, chauffering middle and high school students five days a week.
“I like dealing with children. I always have,” said Seamster.
Seamster began driving the school bus as a student driver and after several years gave his bus to his wife, Peggy. He attended college for accounting but later returned home to farm until a high school driver quit, and they asked Seamster to come back.
“I’ve been driving ever since,” he said.
He has worked under four supervisors and watched as things improved for the buses over the years.
“We have a lot better equipment now…buses are better equipped,” said Seamster.
However, he doesn’t feel the same when it comes to discipline. These days administrators “have their hands tied” because of the federal and state government regulations.
He recalled the days when a student misbehaved on the bus, and he was simply “put off on the side of the road and had to walk home.” The parents dealt with the children when they got home.
“If you were late getting home to do your chores because you were put off the bus, you were dealt with at home,” said Seamster. “These days the children tell the parents what to do. The children run the house.”
However, the father of two sons said he made sure his children behaved while they rode his bus.
“They knew better,” he added.
His oldest, Russell, lives in Maryland and works with Sony, and his other son, Dennis, is an alternative education teacher with the school system.
During his tenure as a bus driver he has experienced several memorable and crazy events, but he recalls an event that occurred in 1965 when he was beginning his route and only had two students on the bus at the time.
“The right front wheel came off. Luckily I only had two students on the bus. They weren’t hurt, but it threw them to the floor. I had to walk a mile to a nearby house to call for help,” recalled Seamster.
Bus drivers don’t encounter those situations much anymore, thanks to two-way radios and cameras on board.
Seamster’s least favorite part of the job is driving during the end of the school year when the temperatures rise, and it gets hot.
Being a bus driver isn’t always easy, according to Seamster. The experienced driver said parents sometimes believe the bus driver mistreats their children.
“Parents have to accept the fact that sometimes their children tell little white lies…Cameras have really been beneficial for the bus drivers,” he added.
Parents don’t realize bus drivers wouldn’t be in the profession if they didn’t care for the children, Seamster said.
He and his wife, Peggy, reside in Clover. She is also a bus driver of more than 20 years and works as a teacher’s aide at Clays Mill Elementary School.