For a majority of students, their mode of transportation to and from school is the school bus. As parents, we assume that the school district has hired competent, qualified drivers for the school buses to ensure the safety and care of our children.
As parents, we also assume that when children get on the bus, they will have an ample seating to sit in, it won’t be too crowded and they won’t have to stand.
Bus drivers do have a lot of responsibility for a lot of children during their routes to and from school. They have to be aware of traffic, the drivers around them, train tracks, weather conditions and the students themselves. It is a hard job and one to be taken seriously. If there was a bus that was too full, the bus driver’s will certainly assist in making it safe for all riding the school bus, right?
So, parents, are your kids on a safe, uncrowded bus, that meets the requirements for your child to be transported properly? Maybe. Maybe not.
I thought that kids in our neighborhood within a small town were safely riding the school bus, but it was not the case. At the beginning of the school year elementary up to high school students, were crammed onto the bus, sometimes having four children to a seat. This was when the weather was consistently 90+ degrees by the time they got out of school in the afternoon. Some kids were needing to stand in the aisle because there wasn’t enough room to sit down.
Was this speculation by me just peering into the windows of the bus? No. I spoke with several kids in our neighborhood for five days in a row at separate times, after hearing them talk about how they hated the bus rides the previous week. I didn’t want to speak to them in a together to get false information if a group mentality formed and they just fed off of each other’s words.
With my information I called the school district’s transportation director and explained my concern for the children’s comfort and safety. He proceeded to tell me he’d try to get the kids home on time…
He hadn’t been listening to a word I’d said. I firmly let him know that I wasn’t speaking to him about time – I was speaking about safety violations with kids crammed on a bus without clear aisles. I hoped he was listening the second time. Apparently he was, because I asked the kids in our neighborhood (and still ask them) how the bus rides were going the following week. Seeing a second bus myself making a run through our neighborhood confirmed what the kids were telling me now – that they and everyone else on the bus could sit down and they weren’t crowded.
In the past few weeks, a friend of mine said the bus in her neighborhood was overcrowded and she had tried contacting the transportation director, with no response. She contacted the school district’s superintendent about the lack of response from the director and the problem with the bus load. Two days later she also had a second bus running the route in her neighborhood. This situation had been going on twice as long as the bus in my neighborhood. That scares me for the children on the bus. The bus driver had allowed this situation to happen for months with no change.
So parents, don’t assume that your children are sitting comfortably on the school bus each and everyday. Talk to the bus driver. Talk to the transportation director. Talk to the school district’s superintendent. But more importantly talk to the kids who ride the bus everyday to get a real picture of what is happening or not happening.
Get involved for your kid’s safety and those around them. Ask questions. Make phone calls. Talk to kids. Make change happen when it needs to happen.