Thursday, October 7, 2010

School Bus Dilemma

At the start of the school year, I was very hesitant about putting my little baby on a school bus.  But after listening to my friends and thinking about how many children ride the bus everyday, I decided to be brave and let my little one stretch her wings.  From day one, our bus driver was very impersonal and angry looking.  No matter how many times us mom's pleasantly said hi or thank you to her, she would just continue to frown and not speak to us.   I, however, still let my daughter ride, because bad attitude doesn't equal dangerous driving.  Then as the days moved on, we noticed her driving getting faster and faster.  I kept telling myself that it was all a matter of perspective.  I wasn't on the bus, so it just looked like it was going faster.  So, I continued to let my baby ride the bus.  

Then last week, the kids at my daughter's stop got off the bus with frowns on their faces and tears in their eyes.  We immediately asked what was wrong, loud enough for the driver to hear, but she just closed the door and sped off.  Our kids told us that the 5th grade boys in the back of the bus were goofing off.  So to solve the problem, the bus driver threatened them. If they didn't sit down and behave, she would speed up and the slam on her brakes so that they would fall.  Well, they didn't listen and she followed through with her threat.  As a result, all the kids on the bus went flying forward into the seat in front of them.  One of the first graders at our bus stop even had a large red welt under his eye from where his face his the seat.  Many of the kids complained that they were hurt and the driver told them not to worry about it, their moms could get them an ice pack at home.  

Of course, all the parents were furious, and called or emailed the school immediately.  When the driver was confronted about the issue, she openly admitted to it.   And would you care to guess what they did after that?   They let her continue her bus route.  Really?!?!   Does my child's safety mean nothing???    After we learned the school could do nothing about it, many have written letters or called the director of transportation.  They're response is always the same.  It is under investigation.  When asked, what are they investigating, they say they can't talk about it.  And to make matters worse, this lady has done the same thing in the past and has also been in an accident with a bus full of children.  So in the mean time, everyone has pulled their kids off the bus.  I can't really put into words how I feel about this situation, but I am very disappointed in the school system.  If a teacher was even suspected of endangering a child, they would be suspended immediately.  Why aren't the same standards applied to bus drivers?  What are your thought about bus safety?  Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

17 comments:

Lanie said...

Do you hae a local t.v. station that does investigations? Maybe you could take this public and it would get the attention it deserves. I have a kindergartner and a 2nd grader. If they came off the bus and told me that. I would be beside myself too!

Cindi S World said...

I would definitely find out when the next school board meeting is, or City council meeting, and make sure each and every parent is there to MAKE this be addressed, and like the other commenter said, get in touch with a local station to cover this issue, I am adding this driver and the kids still riding her bus on my prayer list..wow.

♥Cari♥ said...

I'm with Lanie - alert the media.

That is crazy!

Michelle said...

When I had a bus driver in school, she did this once! But I remember it clear as day. It is very wrong and teachs inappropraite behavior to kids and puts them at risk for injuries and the bus driver at more risk for causing accidents. While I do understand, it's best for the driver to have kids well behaved - less distractions from the road- I don't agree with behavior from this.

Is the bus services contracted out? If so, it might be wise to contact the services they work for. Is this something they teach in bus driving school, it's absurd. And if not, if she is hired by the school district I would call the board of education and get a group of parents to attend their meeting and bring this up as a topic. It is interesting that no disciplinary action was taken - I would ask why.

I like the person above about the local tv station idea.

Lanita said...

I agree with Lanie. If the school district won't do anything...because most bus services are contracted, take it public. Nothing can get a bad situation changed faster than a microphone, video camera, and a perky reporter. Our local stations have reporters that do this kind of investigative work.

The other thought would be to report it to the police...reckless endangerment, or collectively file a law suit against the bus company and the school.

OK, I'll take my lawyer hat off now.

Kerri said...

Okay, this post has my heart pounding! I mean pounding. I would be infuriated if I found something out like this. That driver needs to be suspended RIGHT NOW. Why does it take so much effort for the school to take action? Why does it take a kid being seriously injured for someone to say, "Hmm...maybe we should do something about this!"
Luckily, my sons bus driver is SOOOO friendly and cautious, sometimes arriving late because of driving slow in the rain/snow, etc.
She loves the kids and the kids respect HER.
I'm sorry all those children had to endure something like this. They will probably always have a fear of riding buses now....that is sad.
I hope they take care of this woman! and FAST!
Keep us posted on the outcome.

Lilypond Family Shoppe said...

Oh wow! I had issues with my kids bus driver last year and just stayed on top of them all year. They didn't fire her but this year she isn't back so it must have worked. I would check into your legal means of action and check the laws. Definetly contact all your local news media outlets and see if they are interested. Maybe just the threat of a lawsuit and public notification will be enough for them to get in gear. I was pretty sure there were laws that applied to the bus drivers too same as teachers. I see them on the news on occasion when they harm a child. In our district the PK & K kids don't even get to ride the bus with the older kids, they have seperate schools and seperate routes. I like it that way. We have a really great really nice PK/K bus driver.

Chris Sakai said...

I agree with Lanie, Kelly. You should call all of the t.v. stations and local talk radio stations until you get a bite. OR, I know a few people from my old hood. :)

BALLET NEWS said...

I agree with Laine actually. ps, I just HAVE to have those tights in your header shot....

Stephanie Bruce said...

I too have a 2nd grader and kindergarter that each ride a different bus. But i tell you what. A bus driver does that with my kids I am contacting each kids parents and filling a claim for reckless endangerment. maybe losing her job isnt enough of a threat. How about losing everything else? Our children are irreplaceable. They are worth more than a temper tantrum

An Inquiring Mind said...

I actually do have my latte in hand! I agree with Lanie, I'd get a TV news station, the newspaper, and any other form of media I could involved, as well as the superintendant of schools. I'm outraged on your behalf that the school system would continue to let her drive and put so many children in harm's way. The fact she wasn't immediately dismissed in shocking. I'm so sorry you're going through this.

Kel said...

Thanks for the feedback. Nearly the entire group of students have been taken off the bus by their parents and we have all contacted the school, transportation, and the school board. Our neighbor is currently working with our local newspaper to get the word out to the other parents on other buses, but still nothing has been done. One of the kids injured actually has a grandmother who works at the school and she has been fighting hard for termination, but they say that she has been disciplined and can continue driving until the investigation is complete. I will have to write a follow-up post after this thing gets resolved. Thanks for stopping by today! :)

Kelly

Daenel said...

All the parents definitely need to put the bus driver and the school on blast. Maybe not name the driver by name but definitely alert the media about the school district and the way things are being handled.

heather@actingbalanced.com said...

I agree with PP - this needs to go to your elected school board officials and to the media ASAP - this driver is putting children at risk and needs to be stopped before they seriously injure or kill someone...

Stacey said...

Seriously? I had heard of that and was like "no way would a bus driver be allowed to get away with that"...but apparently so. This is CRAZY! I am wondering if the same maniac that drives my kindergartener home is this same woman. Hmmm???

Andrea I said...

I live in GA and most counties have their own transportation department and the drivers are county employees. Definitely continue to follow up and see this driver is terminated. In a county nearby, we just had a driver roll the bus and one student died. The driver was a trainee, but after further investigation, it was found that the driver didn't have the certifiaction to transport students. My children are all adults now, but I don't want children transported in an unsafe manner.

blueviolet said...

I can understand the driver's frustration with the children, but to put everyone in danger because she was angry and stopped short. That is NOT ok!