Keeping Our Kids Safe

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?

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3 Comments

  1. fille says:

    Once again, i get the impression that over in the US, you tend to infantilize your children and keep them immature as long as you can.

    I think that a group of four 10-year-old boys can be left alone at a determined place and wait for their father to arrive. Heck, I believe that 10-year-olds should be able to make it home from school on public transport (or by foot if it is not too far).

    I am not sure whether I got all the details of the story right, It was a bit fuzzy when you wrote about the bus driving away. Did he just close the doors and leave, without proposing the children who got out to get back in? Well, that was not nice (if that was the case). On the other hand, I do not think he had the responsibility to wait untill fahter A arrived. He should have given the children the choice to hop back into the bus or to wait for the father. But your story does not clearly state that he did not do that.

    As far as changing the route of the driver is concerned: as long as they just place him in a different district, fine. But if this intervention lead to firing him, I would feel bad.

  2. CM Fried says:

    Fille,

    I get the impression that you are not from the US, where children (yes, even 10 and above) are kidnapped and worse on a regular basis. That’s not infantilizing the youth, it’s protecting them.

  3. Lady Lock N Load says:

    The driver was at fault here and did not do his job. The boys were left to wait for their ride in the dark snowy street with no side walk. If something were to happen to them G-d forbid the bus company would have been sued. And this is why they had to fire him.
    One time my high school daughter was dismissed early during a snow storm. The buses came to school to drive everyone home. In the middle of the route, the bus driver decided that he did not want to drop my daughter off at our house and forced her to get off at the same area where hadassah’s son was dropped off. She was left in the dark on the snowy icy street, left to walk home. Hard to explain the route but it involves walking on streets with no sidewalks and down a big hill, dangerous in the dark and in a snow storm. I think that Fille would have been afraid to walk home in these conditions.
    Thank G-d a kind neighbor saw her and picked her up and brought her home. My daughter was pretty upset and so was I and I called the bus company. They did not pay him for that day but he should have been fired.

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