School Bus Drivers Are Real People, Too!

I know I haven’t written in awhile and I promise I will post some updates soon.  Tales of indexrunaways, child trafficking and more.  Yes, it’s been interesting around the Ray house the past few weeks.  Now that I’ve peaked your interest I want to talk about something that most people don’t give any thought about, a school bus driver.

As most of you know we adopted 4 teens from Ukraine.  That is not cheap.  Although we did fundraisers those brought in only about 1/5 of what we needed this last go-round.  In order to make the money needed Tom offered to get a job as a bus driver.  Sounded good on the front end.  A few hours a day, some extra money to pay off the adoption debt.  Cool.

Now we are in the last week of school and he has given his notice that he won’t be returning.  We aren’t even close to paying off our debt yet so why not continue what seems to be a cushy job?  Ha!  Let me share with you just a few things and for those of you who are parents of children riding a school bus please understand that this may or may not be something your child does.  I have no idea what your child does on his/her school bus.  However, if your child acts like the following and you, as the parent, stick up for your child instead of giving him what he deserves, then…. well, you should probably stop reading my blog because you won’t like my parenting skills at all.  And I won’t like you.

The first, and most important, responsibility that a bus driver has is the safety of your child.  Period.  He has to get anywhere from 20 – 75 children of varying ages to school and back again in the same condition.  Remember a time when your kids were in the backseat screaming at each other, or you, and you were trying to drive?  Imagine doing that with 70 children.  And instead of sitting in their seats with seat belts (there are none of those) they are bouncing around like a bouncy ball at a concert.

And when you, as a responsible bus driver, yell at the child(ren) to sit in their seats so they don’t come to harm (you have to yell over the voices of 70 – 6th graders, there is no other option) you are told by the child(ren) that you have no power over them, which is essentially true because all the child(ren) have to do is report that the bus driver was yelling and said bus driver will get reprimanded because poor little Johnny is traumatized because he got yelled at for jumping from seat to seat and could potentially have gotten hurt when the bus turned the corner.  And then the parent gets involved demanding the head of the bus driver on a platter.  No thought that the yelling to sit down was for the child’s safety and best interest.  AND had the child gotten hurt, of course the bus driver is to blame.

Then the little 3rd grader who goes off in a rant and starts swearing.  Yup, amazing how often that happens.  And when a written reprimand goes in, the parent, once again, steps in to say, my little Suzie would never do that and the bus driver is lying and no Suzie will not say she is sorry for something she didn’t do.

Time and time again parents are stepping up and instead of hauling their little person home and teaching them respect and responsibility they let them off the hook.  And they turn on the bus driver, as if he/she is not a real person.  This is frightening.  What in the world is our world going to look like when all of these children are adults?  Thinking they can get away with anything.  And disrespecting adults.

My daughter rides one of the buses.  I happened to run into her 7th grade driver and current driver the other day.  All I heard were praises.  We wish all of the students were like her.  That makes me happy, and sad.  Happy that I have a respectful daughter.  Sad for all they have to deal with every day just to get students from home to school and back again safely.  And seriously they get paid horribly to do it.  It’s one of the worst paying jobs out there.

Parents, my husband is no longer going to drive your children.  He was one of the most conscientious drivers out there.  He really cared.  He worked to make the rides fun.  He sat at night looking for fun music to play.  He joked around with them.  And honestly most of the children are good, like our Katherine.  It just isn’t worth the aggravation of the few that are terrors.  And bottom line, it’s not the children, it’s the parent.  The parent that thinks their child is perfect and golden.  Who doesn’t hold them accountable for their actions, at home, at school and on the bus.

We live in a school district where they are begging for drivers.  They are so short handed there is a permanent sign about hiring.  I would hazard a guess that if they started treated bus drivers a bit better they might just keep a few.  And that means holding children and parents accountable.  We just don’t see that happening around here anytime soon so we will move on.

If you are a parent of a child who rides the school bus remember that they are just like you.  A parent, a grandparent, someone who is working to pay their bills.  Someone who drives around all day (and sometimes night) with 70 precious bodies in their hands.  And they feel the weight of that responsibility.  And they care.  Tell them thank you, this last week of school.  Tell them they are appreciated.  And for your children’s sake, if your child does something wrong, hold them accountable and apologize to the bus driver.  It’s the right thing to do.



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