Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The bus driver saga continues

Our troubles with the school bus driver continue to plague us. I wrote about an incident earlier in the year. I've tweeted about this topic a lot.

Things cooled down over the winter when Sam mostly didn't want to come to the bus stop. But now the weather is improving. He wants to come with me on a sunny day. He runs laps up and down the neighbor's driveway (where our bus stop is). When the bus comes, he stops running and stands with me, eager to see Wil.

And the bus driver can't handle it.

"Hold his hand!"
"He's fine. He's standing right here."
"You hold his hand or I'm calling the police."
"Why? He's not running in the street."
"I'm not leaving while he's there. You take those boys home."
"Fine."

So I left the bus stop with the boys. And immediately called the transportation office. A threat to call the police was uncalled for. She stepped over the line. Frankly, I should have insisted she call them and let them laugh at her.

I know the bus driver is in charge of the kids on her bus. But 1) Sam wasn't on her bus, 2) he was with his parent, and 3) he was on the driveway, not in the street.

Today, Sam came to the bus stop again. When we heard the bus, he came and stood right next to me. She stopped the bus before the driveway, urging the kids off with the admonition to "go right to your mommies." Because they don't know this already?

Wil had a good day at school and wanted to tell me about it. So I leaned over to listen to him, Sam still standing slightly behind me.

Honk honk!

Yep, she honked the horn and insisted that she wouldn't leave until we did. So we left. And I called the transportation office again.

I spoke to the same woman I had talked to yesterday. She said she spoke to the driver and told her she couldn't insist he hold my hand if he was on the driveway. Apparently that hasn't done much to help.

So now we are stuck with seeing if things improve or driving Wil every day. Driving him is a huge inconvenience and adds to the traffic at the school. I really don't want to have to do that. We get bus service and should be able to use it.

I did find out that drivers might get new routes next year. I'm not sure how that works - if they choose or are assigned - but it's possible we might get a new driver. Our current one has been on this route for 6 years.

The situation is rapidly becoming untenable. Something needs to change. I won't treat my kids like infants to assuage the driver's paranoia. Last fall I tried having Sam stand very still on a line farther back from the street, but the look on his face, wondering what he was being punished for, is enough to remind me that he did nothing wrong and that she needs to respect my parental authority.

In the meantime, the next two months are likely to be hell every afternoon as we enact this same drama every day.

4 comments:

  1. I'm not sure what I would do in your position. I agree that the bus driver is over-reacting in this situation. I would continue to call the school.

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  2. Any way of getting audio & video recorded? From the driver's boss's perspective, this is "one parent is complaining." If you get something objective you can *show* them, it's a whole other story.

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  3. You are right, but the bus driver is a messenger and a victim as much as you. She has to do this job as best as she can. She has to answer to a system that answers to parents more demanding than anything you ask. Potentially not just income but health insurance for her and family are maintained by this job. It is not simply a complaint that is what she need, but agency to make choices she doesn't feel she has.

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    1. Actually, especially since the child in question isn't in school or riding the bus, she isn't a victim. Would it be reasonable for her to stop her bus and insist someone hold the hand of a child playing in a yard on her route? Then why would she think it reasonable to insist I hold the hand of a child who is on the driveway, not in the street, just because I have another child on the bus? When I called the transportation department, they agreed and told her she couldn't. She keeps claiming she is only worried about safety, but he is safe, with his parent.

      She isn't a messenger for the school district in this case. She's acting on her own perception of safety. And in this worst first world, there are way too many people who insist on pointless safety measures that do no good.

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