August 21, 2008

The Saga of the Bus Driver~Episode One

Here's 5YO and B5YO about to get on the bus for the first time this year on the second day of school.
What is, the SEVENTH DAY OF SCHOOL? I mean, really. Let me start off by saying that I am NOT one of those people who believes their kids deserve anything more than what everyone else deserves. I don't expect special treatment or for anyone to kiss my ass.
What I do expect, however, is for people to just do things right. We have a new bus driver this year. Evidently, she's not a new driver but ours is a new route for her. She may not always know exactly where to stop and she may feel a bit rushed. That's to be expected. What I don't expect is for her to blow right past our house without even slowing down, just because there was no one waiting at the actual stop for her. There was a garbage truck in front of our house at the same exact time and we were in the front yard. AND THE BUS DRIVER WAS EARLY!!! Something that David and I had noticed from the second day of school was how abruptly she slams on those brakes to stop, along with how quickly she accelerates. The kids haven't complained and no one's been hurt, so I'm hoping she'll slow down as she gets more acquainted with this route. But, when she blew past our house without even slowing down, I felt the need to call the district and let them know. Yes, I complained. I really hate to complain about things and I normally wouldn't. But this was just crazy. She's required to stay at the designated stop until the actual time she's supposed to be there. If she's running late and she sees no children at the next stop, she may just keep driving past but must slow down and look for children that may be running toward her. Granted, the garbage truck being there might have thrown her off, but she didn't even slow down!
So, I called the district office and complained. While I was at it, I let them know that in my six years of watching the buses I have never seen a bus brake and accelerate so abruptly. I feel I was very justified in saying this and I understand that driving a bus can't possibly be an easy job. I told them that I figured that she felt a bit rushed because she was new to the route. The lady on the phone said that they would talk to her.
Yesterday afternoon, when the bus came again, she immediately mentioned that she heard that we had a 'misunderstanding' that morning. No misunderstanding....she just blew past one of her stops! I understood that perfectly. She then asked me if a certain child was mine. I told her that she lived next door but would come to our house sometimes after school. She told me she'd been having trouble with this particular child. She didn't want to have to write her a referral, but maybe she'd just write a letter to her mom instead. This girl has only ridden the bus like THREE TIMES since school started and she is NOT one to disobey or get into trouble. Her sister even backed her up. Once I put two and two together, I started to wonder if maybe she thought that child was mine and was going to 'show me' how it feels to take complaints. She was maybe even just in a bad mood from having been 'talked to' after her morning route and took it out on anyone who so much as looked at her sideways. Either way, it just doesn't seem right.
So, we were sure to have 5YO out at the stop five minutes early, just as they would like. The bus was right on time today and I could even see the driver very obviously checking her watch as she pulled up. She asked me if these were all the kids riding today and I was able to tell her, "Yes." I pretty much know all the kids who ride and what their schedules are. She then asked me if she missed the garbage truck. You know, like the one that was here YESTERDAY?
Now, where on earth does she live to have a garbage man come every single day??? If he was here yesterday, why on EARTH would he be here TODAY??? I've never HEARD of a garbage man that comes everyday!!!
So, as she pulls the bus away, she takes extra care to just coast along. That bus would have to be on its hands and knees to crawl anymore than it was crawling as it pulled away from our house! David and I giggled as she turned left and hit the gas hard, like we couldn't see her anymore.
She didn't use her turn signal!!!
I just think it's funny. I wouldn't call about something like that. I would if I wanted to 'play along.' But, I don't . I want my kids to have a safe trip between home and school. That's all. If she feels rushed, she just needs to relax. The route is set up to where they don't have to speed. I have no problem with bus delays. They totally happen! I've seen the bus pulled over around the corner while the driver argued with a parent who wanted to take their child off without waiting for them to be at an actual stop. The bus was just around the corner but was delayed by about 15 or 20 minutes. I wasn't upset. These things happen and I know that bus drivers have to follow a certain protocol. Not by any means do I think that being a bus driver is easy. In fact, it really has to be one of the crappier jobs out there. Whatever they get paid, I'm sure it's not enough. It's a given that kids behave a certain way in the classroom, but many think that they can act like absolute heathens when they get on the bus. They might be tired and cranky or all wound up in the mornings. They might be the same in the afternoon. Having to navigate a large vehicle with the pressure of not being able to see all the kids and knowing that they have 60-80 kids to get home safely cannot be easy. And I never said it was, just don't act like a total doorknob!
I'm calling this 'Episode One' because, after this morning, I get the feeling that I'll have plenty of stories as the school year goes on. And if she tries to take out her frustrations with me on my timid 5YO....IT'S ON!!!!!


Shakes said...

ohhhhh I would have the bus company on the phone for schite like that!

Granted your right in your thinking, little pay, lots of kids, lots of bus! My mom was a bus driver for about 3 years when I was in grade school (and yes, she was my bus driver for at least one year)

but she would never act like that driver did!

Jessie said...

Ok. My father in law is a bus driver.

1. Call them again. Tell them about what she is doing, not only how she punched the gas, but how she took it upon herself to complain about "your kid" to you and you feel like she is singling out the kid in retaliation.

In my opinion, she didnt need to confront you about the complaint.

Furthermore, this is why my kids will never ride the bus if I can help it. Honestly, if you can get them off the bus, then do so, because this will not die down.

Mom101 said...

You just made me sort of happier that my daughter's preschool is a block away. She could take a bus, I suppose, but it's like by the time she got her seat she'd be there.

I hope it gets better.

And thanks for the nice comment at my place today.

Diane said...

Well, working at a school, I can tell you that bus drivers get paid fairly well, so let me dispell that myth. (At least in our district!)

But the driver shouldn't be asking YOU if all the kids are present that will be boarding the bus. That isn't YOUR job; she should have a list of who gets on at each stop and should by NOW know all the kids by face & name.

That driver seems like they are annoyed with their new route. My guess is that they got moved to your route due to issues on their last route. I would monst definitally keep my eye and ear out for anything that may be occuring after that bus pulls away from the curb (ie: she gives your little one & her friend a hard time). :( Hope things get better!

Jeanne said...

You did the right thing in calling them - it sounds like she is not a very safe driver.

It's upsetting, too, that someone resposible for childrens' safety can be that petty! It sounds like she shouldn't have a job dealing with kids or the public in general. Hang in there, and hopefully she'll come to her senses and leave your daughter out of it.