The Dart: Butler has 25 years behind wheel

Published 6:06 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2017

An early day allowed Peggy Butler an afternoon watching Spongebob Squarepants with her grandson.

Butler has been driving a school bus for the Dallas County School System for 25 years but students got an early day Wednesday because of incoming severe weather. Butler had been planning a trip to Prattville, but adjusted her plans to be at school early to pick up kids.

It’s not the first time it’s happened and it probably won’t be the last.

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“There have been times where we’ve been on a trip to Montgomery and we had to get back to that school at 11 because they got out because of some weather,” Butler said.

She became a bus driver because she wanted to help children, and she’s been able to do that a lot through the years.

“Your main things for driving a school bus is the love for the children. You have to love kids,” she said. “If you don’t, that’s one occupation I don’t think you should think about going into. You have your good times and you have your challenging times. I feel teachers go through the same thing.”

She said when she sees a child without a jacket, she’ll ask why they don’t have one. If that child says they don’t own one, she will go buy them a jacket. Butler doesn’t see that as special though, since many teachers do the same thing.

“You’ve got some teachers that go in their pockets and do a lot in the classroom out of their own paychecks,” Butler said.

She said she develops relationships with parents, so that if a child acts up on the bus she can let them know instead of having to go straight to the principal.

“I’m an only child and I was raised by my great grandmother,” she said.

“My passion for kids comes from being an only child and wishing I had a sister and brother that grew up with me, but I spent a lot of time alone.”

She said she never seriously considered being a teacher, despite her love for children.

“That’s all day,” she said with a laugh. “I have a break inbetween.”

Butler is the mother of three children — Ma’Chell, Conesha and Jamarcus and also has three grandchildren. She took taekwondo with two of her kids so they could learn how to defend themselves and learn patience.  She said when her kids were younger she was the church babysitter at Potter’s Place Church.

She spent Wednesday afternoon giving Conesha, her daughter, a hard time about moving out, and listening to her youngest son, Jamarcus, who is telling anyone he can that he’s looking for a job.

“I’ve got references,” Jamarcus said.

On Thursday morning, she’ll get up early and drive her school bus again. She said next year she may give up and find something else to do, but whatever that is, if it happens, will involve helping people.