School Left Using Party Bus With Stripper Poles Amid Bus Driver Shortage

A high school in Boston, Massachusetts was forced to use a party bus equipped with stripper poles to transport students on a field trip, after the ongoing national school bus driver shortage left no other options.

English teacher Jim Mayers shared the image to his Twitter account on September 17, showing said party bus with visible stripper poles and LED lighting, gaining over 92,000 likes on the thread. In the photo, students' heads can be seen riding the bus in the background.

"Due to the national school bus driver shortage, my school has hired a party bus with stripper poles to transport us for a field trip. This is not a drill," he tweeted.

"Yes, this is a true story. However, the entire day was in fact a phenomenal experience for all the kids, they didn't really care about the bus, and a lot of great planning by a lot of great people made for a fantastic day," he added.

— Jim Mayers (@mayersteach) September 17, 2021

According to Mayers, the original bus charter for the field trip had fallen through halfway through the week, leaving them to find a last minute alternative. "When you promise hundreds of kids a fun day with their advisories, you make it happen," he wrote.

For Mayers, the best part was the kids' reactions to the stripper poles, saying: "I've never seen one before,'' after being informed they were genuine ones. "Me neither," he responded.

finally home from the best field trip ever. my favorite part:

“Mr. Mayers,” asked one student. “Is that a *real* stripper pole?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Huh,” he said. “I’ve never seen one before.”

“Me neither.”

— Jim Mayers (@mayersteach) September 17, 2021

Although the hilarious side shines through, the need for using a party bus highlights just how much of an effect the bus driver shortage is having on schools across the U.S. A recent survey found that half of student transportation coordinators described their school bus driver shortages as "severe" or "desperate."

"It is a funny story, but there actually is a real bus shortage and it speaks to major flaws in our education system. This in no way is a reflection of anyone involved in planning the trip - we were trying to have a fun day with the kids and that's exactly what happened," tweeted Mayers.

In Massachusetts, where the school is located, Gov. Charlie Baker announced last week that the National Guard will begin to drive students to school across the state. As many as 250 National Guard members are expected to be made available and 90 Guards began training on Tuesday to work in Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell and Lynn.

Normally, bus driver shortages are seen at the start of every school year—reportedly, low hours, long training periods and low pay also play a large part in the difficulties to recruit and keep bus drivers. However, the pandemic has heightened the problem this year, with many stepping down over concerns of contracting COVID-19 and some retiring over the pandemic.

"Anyways, call your local elected officials and demand astonishingly massive structural investments in our education system, including paying all bus drivers, facilities, and operations staff a competitive salary & comprehensive benefits. Whatever you think is enough, double it," advised Mayers in a final tweet.

Front of a yellow school bus
Stock image of a school bus. Getty Images