Thursday, August 20, 2009

Playing In Traffic

Is there no end to middle school stupidity?!

This morning as I was finishing a route and pulled out onto a major highway (4 lanes across with a turn lane in the middle dividing the 4 lanes)I had the unfortunate pleasure of watching THREE middle school boys play chicken with rush hour traffic.

Actually to be more precise, two of the boys were egging on the third who played a game of "tag" with the white lines on the pavement. First the boy wandered into a single lane, then he tried his luck and raced ACROSS the FOUR LANE road to "tag" the white line on the other side. I know we cannot control the people who walk along the side of the road, but my heart froze when I realized the kid was being stupid.

Most of the time, mornings will find very few kids walking to school, but in the afternoons, there is a FLOOD of middle school kids who like to walk home from the school instead of riding the bus. Unfortunately, this middle school is located along a major highway and there is really no safe place to cross. I've watched kids dart out in front of buses, I've had them dart out in front of me causing me to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting them.

One of my biggest fears as a bus driver is seeing a child get struck by a vehicle, bus or car. Either way it would be a huge tragedy.

This also brings me to another point. With school being back in session and buses traveling the roads more frequently, if you drive, please be on the lookout for kids at bus stops as well as the school bus itself. I know a big yellow box is pretty hard to miss, but we've had people to run right into our rear ends while we're stopped either letting children off the bus, or picking them up from their stops. So please use caution and be more alert while driving especially during the course of a school year.


The Bus Driver


Ice Queen said...

This was a good post. Sometimes people don't realize how many more kids are hanging out after school. Definitely something worth taking the time to slow down for.

mrs. fuzz said...

Hi, I came over from Walking a thin blue line when I saw your little bus avatar. I've always wanted to know what goes on in the mind of bus drivers. :) My daughter's (1st grade) school is right off a major highway and it's the scariest thing ever. I don't know if i'll ever let her walk to school on her own.

Last year in kindergarten, they had a bus just for kindergarteners. The morning bus driver was great and the kids loved him. He interacted with them while he drove and my daughter would come home with songs and jokes that she learned from the bus driver. The afternoon driver was another story. She seemed stressed and flustered, and once we parents waited at the bus stop for over an hour. Finally one of us called the school, and the office said that all our kids were there in the office waiting to be picked up. Apparently the bus driver couldn't find the last bus stop on her route which was about 8-10 kids. So she took them back to the school and said, "go to the office. My shift is over" and she went home! no one had any explanation for us and many of us were very upset.

So I guess I want to know what should she have done? Isn't there a radio to call in to talk to someone if you get lost? Shouldn't she have checked with the school to see if parents were still waiting at the bus stop? It was very confusing. It seemed like she was just in a hurry to clock out and go home and didn't care what happened to the kids. Also, shouldn't she know the route like the back of her hand before driving it?

Also, my daughter would come home and talk about the mean bus driver and one time when she did something naughty and i was not happy with her, she said, "your face looks like the same face my bus driver makes!" Sounds to me like she didn't like kids very much. So I guess another question I would love to have you answer would be what qualities, if any, do you think an elementary school bus driver should posess?

Sorry for the epic comment. You have a fun blog to read!

The Bus Driver said...

Mrs. Fuzz, I will address your comment in a separate blog. :) Thanks for writing in!

Anonymous said...

Scary stuff... Tweens and teens KNOW nothing bad will happen to them.

institutrice said...

Did you call the police and/or the school? I called the cops on some kids after they got off the late bus and started beating up a kid, including kicking him when he was on the ground. I pulled into the gas station next to them and turned on my lights so they knew I was watching. (It was funny when one of them noticed - he hit a friend on the arm and pointed at my car. It was totally like, Hey, the teacher's coming! ;-) ) When a parent drove up to pick up one of the kickers, I even got out of the car to get her license plate! The kids who were still there tried to tell me they were pretending, but then why was the victim still hunched over and clutching his stomach? I ignored them and got back in my car. I called the bus barn when I got home. Never found out what happened afterward, though. But the whole thing was appalling, and it's exactly why I don't teach middle school!!