🚌 Going Above and Beyond: Thank You School Bus Drivers

By Office of Communications
Employee News
February 16, 2024

February 22 is School Bus Driver Appreciation Day. Fairfax County Public Schools employs more than 1,500 drivers and attendants who transport an estimated 131,000 students safely to and from school each day. Our drivers and attendants take pride in being the first FCPS face students see in the morning and the last one they see before heading home for the evening.

Every potential FCPS driver must have a good driving record and pass a physical exam, drug screening, and background check. They then complete a five-week training program and take a “road” test to attain their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Drivers spend several hours in the classroom and behind the wheel before they ever pick up students. 

Because of her extensive training, one school bus driver knew exactly how to respond when the unexpected happened one morning earlier this school year. While School Bus Driver Synnethia Pacheli was waiting at a stop sign, the car in front of her attempted to turn left and was struck by a truck. The impact from the truck caused the car to roll over.

Pacheli, thinking quickly, secured her bus and jumped into action. Along with the help of three other bystanders, they pushed the car up and pulled out the occupants. Among them were a newborn baby, a young child, and their mother. Pacheli gathered the children and brought them onto the bus to shelter them from the cold. While on the bus, Pacheli reassured the children and kept them safe and calm until rescue personnel arrived to transport the family to receive medical attention. 

“It is tough to find the words to express how impressive her response was,” said Transportation Coordinator Jeremy Doxer. “It is no secret that Fairfax County has the best employees around, with a commitment to excellence. The actions of this driver came as no surprise.” Most would consider Pacheli a hero but she says it was her motherly instinct to help. 

Pacheli said she was inspired by her dad to become a school bus driver because he was a driver and has his Class A driver’s license. In addition to following in his footsteps, she liked that she was working with children and could bring her child to work each day. “This job is so gratifying. I love those kids!” says Pacheli. 

For more information call 571-423-3023 or email [email protected].