Posted by ESC on January 30, 2004
In Reply to: Cheese Bus posted by Brian from Shawnee on January 29, 2004
: : : : On the front page of today's Newark (New Jersey) Star-Ledger there's an article about a student strike at an "alternative" high school called Valley High. It's a special school in Newark for students with special behavioral problems.
: : : : It seems that the students refused to get on the new buses provided by a private contractor, because they are "cheese buses". The article explained that "cheese buses" are similar to the yellow minibuses used to transport Special Education (i.e., "retarded") students, and tough kids from the ghetto were too concerned about their image to get on the buses.
: : : : The article did not explain why exactly the buses are called "cheese buses" by the students. I suspect the explanation was discovered by the reporter, but was probably derogatory to Special Ed. students and was therefore omitted.
: : : ...my sources now tell me it's probably because of the color.
: : Is a cheese bus the same as a "short bus"? As in, "When you were in school, did you ride the short bus?"
: It seems to refer to any regular yellow school bus, regardless of size. The article in today's paper seemed to allow for a correlation between the phrase and the size of the bus, but further research indicates it's strictly a color thing.
: Must be modern. I never heard this phrase, and I graduated high school in New Jersey in 1978.
I googled "cheese bus" and it does appear to mean a regular yellow bus. My children graduated from high school in 2001. I can report that having to ride the bus represented a huge loss in status. Before they got their driver's licenses, they walked home from school in rain, hail, sleet and snow rather than ride the bus.