Monday, April 19, 2010

Reality Hits the Bus

The kids ride the bus home from school each day. I'm delighted to have free transportation, but lately the bus has been pretty unruly; kids have been saying inappropriate things, and acting up. I called the Denton ISD transportation department, lodged a complaint one day after an especially trying ride. I was irritated with the driver because he was not maintaining order. I know it's possible to have a calm, orderly bus because the lady who drove last year did a great job, and all the kids respected her. The bus people called back and said that they have to maintain safety, but can't regulate language on the bus. I understand that, but my bigger complaint was with the driver's inability to maintain order.

Last year, a boy on Madeline's bus said the F word on the way home, and the Good Driver got off the freeway, turned the bus around, and took them back to the school. When they got there, she took the foul-mouthed offender and marched him in to the principal's office and left him there. Then she drove the rest of the kids home. I was very pleased.

Today was not so good. There is a boy with emotional problems who decided to start spitting on another boy. They regularly are "fighting" on the bus, so that wasn't new. The bus driver, a former military man, told the boy to stop it. He didn't, so the driver stopped the bus, came back, and told him again-telling him that he wasn't going to ride the bus again for the rest of the year. The kid spit on him, and the bus driver slapped him on the face. The kid began screaming cuss words at him, and he slapped him again!

The spitter went and sat down, and the driver brought them home. Everyone was shocked, of course. Madeline came bursting in with the dramatic news, and I called to make a report. I was the second parent to do so, and probably not the last.

So, I was right in my first assessment that the driver doesn't know how to maintain order. I certainly understand his anger at being disrespected and spit on, but the whole event should never have happened. That child should have been banished from the bus for his behavior a long time ago. Hindsight.

Later, I got a call from the transportation department as they called every parent with children on the bus, and they're scrambling to alert all the authorities-child protective services included. And I know from neighborhood gossip that the police were at the boy's house this afternoon.

Man, I'm so glad I'm not that driver. He must have realized it was all over the minute he sat down in his seat. I can just feel that sinking stone feeling he must have now. The consequences of losing his temper are going to be with him for a long time.

And I'm hoping that the boy will have some repercussions too. It was time some reality caught up with him. Tomorrow, the bus will be a new place. And for the sake of my children, I'm glad.