Keeping Our Kids Safe
Last week during the brief snowstorm we had, my youngest son, Chatterbox, arrived home very late from school.
On a day with blowing snow and icy winds, he and some friends were left alone after their bus broke down.
The driver had ordered the children to get off the bus and walk home.
They would have had to have crossed two main roads, and walked on streets without sidewalks in the dark.
The driver did not call for a back up bus.
Below is the story as told to me by Chatterbox- 10 years old.
“The bus got stuck in the snow on Barrie, just off Union.
The bus driver tried to move the bus. It would not move.
Then he said to us “you’re going to have to walk home, get off the bus”. But no one got off the bus.
Then he tried to move the bus again.
[Friend A] decided to call his mother using the bus driver’s cellphone.
Then [A], me, [Friend B], and [Friend C] got off the bus to wait for [Friend A's father] to pick us up. Three other boys got off too to wait for their rides.
The driver managed to fix the bus and drove away with the rest of the boys.
The bus left before [Friend A's father] got there, leaving us to wait on the street.”
As you can imagine, I was livid. This is not appropriate nor safe.
I spoke to one of the other parents, and her son had told her the same story – the key elements were identical. We decided we were all going to call up the bus company and complain.
Through various channels, I was able to get an email with the above accounting of the events through to the Superintendent of our local school district. He promised to look into it and see that appropriate action is taken. When Chatterbox came home the next day he told me he still had the same bus driver. I was very disappointed, but realized that these things do take time.
I heard yesterday that the bus driver will no longer be driving for our school district due to his behaviour on this day. Chatterbox has a new bus driver and is relieved to know he’ll be safe.
I am glad I was able to get a result – even though it was because I knew someone who could get my complaint heard much quicker than had I gone through official channels. You have to use whatever weapons you have in your arsenal, especially when it comes to protecting our children. There is NOTHING I wouldn’t do to ensure their safety.
Several people told me to go to the press to complain, but I felt that initially I needed to try to work this out without involving the press and media. I don’t know how much it would have changed to have the press involved. We were able to sort out the problem without a huge hue and cry.
What would you have done?