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Bus Drivers Learn Spanish

POSTED: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 6:53pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:58pm

The Spanish speaking population is growing in the Capitol City and school bus drivers are having a hard time communicating. Our David D’Aquin found out that dozens of bus drivers are going back to school to learn Spanish.

They drive kids to school and back every day, but it’s becoming more difficult for bus drivers to talk with students as more and more students who don’t speak English move to the Capitol City. Bus drivers like Mac Wallace are having a hard time communicating with the students on their buses and they asked to go back to school to learn Spanish. Nearly 70 EBR school bus drivers signed up for the classes that meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They say they have to go back to school to learn Spanish so they can communicate with the children on their buses. “Especially the smaller kids when they don’t know exactly where they live, so they can speak to us in their language and be able to understand what they’re saying.”

Bus drivers also want to be able to speak with parents when they need to. “My basic goal is just to be able to understand what they’re saying and get them home safely.” Bus drivers heading back to school to learn to communicate in a whole new language and they say they’re having fun while doing it.

The school system is paying for the Spanish classes through the federal grants provided under the “No Child Left Behind” Act. They anticipate doing more classes because bus drivers are anxious to learn Spanish.