Monday, June 1, 2009

Some Thoughts on Riding the School Bus


First of all, I would like to say that my kids will never ride the school bus. Never. No matter what Daniel says, no matter how much he thought it was okay as a kid, no matter what anyone else says.

Now, I did not get molested on a school bus as a kid, or anything like that. I just do not like the idea of my kids riding the school bus. To better understand why I feel so strongly about this, I'm going to try and analyze my own past to find the source of this dislike.

But first, I would like to let you know that Daniel rode the school bus in Thibodaux, Louisiana for years, and still thinks that it is okay for our kids to do the same. His bus riding stories are all full of him getting in trouble, being rude to the driver, or seeing other kids fistfight on the bus. To be perfectly honest, I'm pretty sure that Daniel was one of those kids that I'm trying to keep away from my kids by not letting them ride the bus.

Now, onto my bus-riding past...

I only rode the bus in the Playas, New Mexico area (in the middle of the desert), and for about an hour and a half each day, and only from second grade through fourth grade. Yes, I was able to form such a strong opinion about school buses in only 3 years. After all, I did have to travel 60 miles a day round trip in that thing.

One of my earliest memories riding the bus involves a seven year old me, an older (12, maybe) boy, and a yellow dress. I walked onto the bus that morning, and sat by myself in the usual spot. The boy (who I knew), came and sat across from me. We talked a little, and then he reached over and lightly touched the hem of my yellow dress. "That's a really nice fabric," he said. At the time, this was highly disturbing to me, although I never told anyone about it. Now it doesn't bother me as much. However, if I were to put Abby in my place, then the whole scene is even more disturbing to me than it was when I was seven years old. No one, and I mean no one had better ever touch my daughter's hem.

Next, I remember being on the bus, in the back. I was one of the last kids to be let off the bus, and so the bus was nearly empty. There was a boy I knew (but not that well) that was getting off the bus at a different stop that day, and so he was riding in the back with me. Suddenly, he sits next to me, grabs my shoulders, and kisses me. I was nine, he was ten. That guy ended up forgetting about this and eventually marrying a girl I once went to church with, but me? I was disturbed by the incident, and still am. Would I want this to happen to Abby? Nope.

I can also vividly remember a time when I took the school bus home, and noticed that my friend Sarah was not on the return trip with me. I got off at my stop, went up to my door and could not get in. The door was locked, my mom's car was not in there, and I panicked. Around the same time, my friend Sarah's mom pulled up, looking for her daughter. Apparently, the school had gotten a call from my mom, asking them to send Sara home with a friend (on another bus). They instead sent Sarah. She was at a stranger's house with my mom, and I was alone at my house with her mom. Now, I know this was only a mistake, and those things happen... But I really don't know what Abby would do if she got to our house and no one was here, aside from curling into a ball and sobbing.

Three nice school bus horror stories, no? Yet, I have one more...

It was a hot, hot, hot (did I mention I lived in the desert?) September day. I was riding home on the school bus, when I was thrown into the seat in front of me, and heard a loud screech/thump/crash. My school bus driver curses, loudly. I look in front of the bus and see a horse trailer on it's side. Yup, my bus driver hit a horse. And a trailer.

This naturally caused a delay. A 3 hour delay. And it was hot. There was a near-dead horse on the road. And I was eight years old.

Finally, finally, the accident was cleared up, the horse shot dead (though not in front of us), and we continued home to our bus stops. My mom was actually not that upset, because I guess someone had notified her that everyone was okay or something. However, I can picture the whole thing rather clearly in my mind, to this day. Now don't worry - that school bus driver stopped driving buses about 2 years later, after he ran over his own nephew with a school bus. But really, even with that guy no longer driving buses, I still don't want Abby, Avery, or Ethan on one of those giant yellow deathtraps.

*phew* Now that was painful. But tell me, am I over-reacting? Would you (or do you) want your kids to set foot on a bus after hearing these stories, much less experiencing these stories firsthand? Daniel laughs at me, but my kids will never - no, not ever - ride on a school bus. Period.

6 comments:

Andrea said...

I say "No way!!!" Right now we live not even a block from the school so there really is no reason for her to ride the bus right now but when we move or she goes to mid school she's not riding the bus. I did have something bad happen on the bus by someone I'm sure you'd remember. I also remember being in High School and the bus driver running over Dwayne's handicap ramp and breaking it. He also ran off the rode many time throwing us in all sorts of directions. I can go on and on seeing that I rode the bus K-12.

2GAboys said...

Yes, I let my son ride the bus; his 2-y-o brother is waiting (rather impatiently) for his turn, too.

You might check with the school system and find out their policy on younger kids. For example, if I happen to not be at the bus stop, our school would have taken my kindergardner back to the school and waited for me to show up there -- for his safety.

They also assign seats with the little kids up front so the driver can keep a better eye on them.

And I myself rode the bus for many years without suffering long-term damage. :-)

Sara M. said...

Andrea,

I wonder if it's just us Playas people that have a fear of school buses! Did those people even need a license at our school??

Sara M. said...

2GAboys,

I'm so happy to hear from someone who does not have horror stories about the buses! Daniel thinks he doesn't, but his stories still scare me :o)

Thank you for the tips. I'll keep them in mind in case I ever feel that it's too hard to drive the kids to all their various schools.

Daniel said...

Maybe riding the school bus can be a kind of conflict resolution experience? To grow into responsible adult, one must know how to handle all types of situations. Good AND bad.

Sara M. said...

Daniel,

Good point, but I'd rather that conflict resolution happen under adult supervision.

 
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