Monday, October 22, 2012!

Well... I have been a very neglectful blogger as of late. It is not for lack of interesting stories to tell, it is simply for lack of time. I have gone back to college to get an Accounting degree. I am now working 2 jobs, and in college full time. I hope to have a few upcoming blog posts including a book review on "Capture The Flag" by Kate Messner. Scholastic sent me the book and has requested a review. I will have that available soon!!!!!

The Bus Driver

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bullying - The Aftermath

After posting about the bullying incident where the bus monitor got bullied by a bunch of middle school students, it got me thinking. What punishment would they face for bullying. Is it enough? Would it be too strict, or not enough to make an impression.

One thing that I kept coming across in reading the articles that progressed was that instead of some of these KIDS apologizing to the bus monitor for what they did, their PARENTS are apologizing for them instead. What is that teaching your child when you apologize for them, or make excuses for their behavior? One father was even quoted as saying that his son was sufficiently embarrassed by the publicity of the event and that he felt that was "enough" of a consequence for his son.

Where did the responsibility go? The father certainly did not make his son own up and apologize directly. Instead the "embarrassment" was enough. I was glad to read that the school district is taking this incident into consideration and has delivered an "appropriate" punishment. However, this punishment, in my opinion, has nothing to do with WHERE the incident took place. The punishment in question is suspending the boys from school for one year, allowing them to attend an "alternative" school, and then eventually, if they show good behavior, they can re-integrate into "regular" school earlier than the one year suspension.

What about a bus suspension? Losing their bus riding privilege? Or what about having the boys write apology notes to the bus monitor? One father even went so far as to apologize to the bus monitor FOR his son. What ever happened to the responsibility falling on the shoulders of the student? Heaven forbid any of the responsibility falls directly on the child for the wrong doing. Instead lets all make excuses and give them what they want anyways.


The Bus Driver

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bullying - Unacceptable!!!

Recently there have been several news articles about the bullied bus monitor Karen Klein. I am in shock that this was even allowed to go on in the first place, let alone be placed on youtube by the students who bullied her. The youtube video is about 10 minutes long and very hard to watch.

Bullying is unacceptable! When did we decide that bullying would be an acceptable practice? People are questioning what will happen to the kids who bullied. The answer is, very likely, nothing but a stern warning, and maybe a loss of bus privilege. No apologies, no teaching our kids that bullying is wrong and needs to stop.

Unfortunately, the bully issue is not just restricted to certain areas. Kids bully each other and adults. Where do they learn their behavior? From the ADULTS around them. Bullying has become one of those things we have become desensitized to unless it is an extreme case, and then the punishment for the bully isn't as detrimental as the consequence of the bullied student.

Bullied students are more likely to develop depression, become suicidal, and suffer far worse lasting effects from the bullying then the one doing the act. When will it STOP!

Slamming the Brakes,

The Bus Driver


What a busy month! The last 3 weeks of school are always the most hectic for bus drivers. There are field trips galore because teachers are done teaching, the test has been taken and/or passed, and the kids have mentally "checked out" of school. The result is loads of field trips to the bowling alley, movies, parks, and any other random place teachers can come up with.

It is a recipe for unique experiences. Getting lost, traveling down random dirt roads, and seeing Air Force One. The latter happened on a field trip to a television station in a nearby city. The president happened to be visiting the area to sign a bill for the GI's and we happened to be near the airfield where the president flew in and out. We deliberately made a detour after the tour of the television station and watching the coverage live. We passed by the field where they actually had Air Force One in all its glory.

After a short period of time at the local mall, the group was on the way back to the bus when we saw Marine One flying overhead back to Air Force One. I maneuvered the bus back over to the field and we actually got to watch Air Force One taking off. It was an amazing and unique experience that I will never forget.

Three weeks later, I found myself on my own mini road trip. I drove up and down the east coast, visited loads of folks, got lost (this seems to be a theme with me) and followed my GPS through some of the craziest back roads I've ever seen.

When the road sign does that ^^^^ they mean it!!! I couldn't help but laugh. It was unbelievable. I made it back home though and have memories to last a lifetime!

Driving Crazy,

The Bus Driver

Monday, May 14, 2012

Field Trip Craziness!!

Wow, so it's been a good long while since I've posted on this blog and its not for lack of material, but for lack of time to actually sit down and type out a blog. In the last three weeks, I have taken 10 field trips mostly back to back. These have gone to several different locations, each with their own unique qualities. I'd like to take the time to remind people of some very important things that need to happen on a field trip, before, during, and after.

1. Please make sure you have all rosters, permission slips, and everything you need signed and done before you board my bus.

2. Please make sure your sweet cherub children go to the bathroom prior to boarding my bus.

3. When explaining to parents how to follow the bus, please make sure they stay behind ALL buses that are driving the field trip. There is nothing more frustrating then getting a gaggle of parents between me and the bus in front of me, especially when our directions may differ from the parents.

4. Explain to the parents that it is not safe nor advisable to tailgate the bus. Also when we get to the location in question, please tell parents to hang back a bit and observe what the bus does BEFORE swinging into a parking space and risking getting a bus bumper through their side door because we have to park the buses in a certain area.

5. Tell your parents "Do not crowd the bus after we have stopped." I promise, your child is not getting off the bus any other way than through the front door.

6. Please please please please please bring directions with you to provide the bus driver with an idea of how to get there if the bus driver does not know. Most of the time I have a GPS that I simply program in an address, and it takes me there, but occasionally, this does not work.

7. When disembarking the bus after the trip is over, please clean up after your students. I know we are expected to sweep our buses and keep them clean, but when you get on a clean bus, please make sure its clean when you exit. This includes all trash, wrappers, sunflower seeds, sand, cans, drinks, and anything that may have been left behind on the bus. Also, offer to empty the bus trash can and your bus driver will thank you and likely take you up on the offer.

8. Plan on feeding your bus driver. We don't ask for much, but a nice drink now and again, or a meal when we are expected to wait on your group for longer than 4-6 hours is much appreciated.

9. Please try to organize your trip. I know sometimes things are unorganized and left to chance, but the better organized the teacher the easier the trip is for the bus driver.

10. The bus only goes 55 mph. It cannot go faster. Don't complain about it or you can walk.

Smooth Sailing!

The Bus Driver

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Day of the Tornado

Very few things strike pure fear into a bus drivers' mind than weather troubles. We are like the US Postal Service. You know the saying, "Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow....." We drive in all kinds of inclement and sometimes dangerous weather. We keep control of a busload of children while trying to keep our cool in pouring rain, sleet, hail, snow, and fog. Somehow we also juggle the ever constant CB radio traffic, kids being obnoxious, and parents demanding things from us, while driving and dropping the kids off safely.

The day started out rather normally, although we had an increase in rainy weather over the course of the week. Rain is a fairly normal obstacle, but occasionally we get fronts of some scary thunderstorms that cause us to be on severe thunderstorm and tornado watches. Occasionally, these watches turn into warnings, and it is imperative that we take cover.

My field trip had been canceled, so I was riding along with a friend learning the changes in her route. We had just left the elementary school with approximately 50 some odd children on the bus. We pulled into the middleschool and began loading like normal, when it got very quiet. The principal was making rounds to every bus and saying something.

He got to our bus and said, "We need to get these kids off the bus and into the school NOW.... there is a Tornado warning!"

Pause. Sheer disbelief. Then Action!

We hustled all the kids off at the same time as about 20 other bus drivers. They split the buses in half and we directed the kids into the school and told them to stick together and follow directions. We had mass chaos and panic. Some kids even cried and needed to be held because they were scared. We evacuated the buses at 3 pm, and did not get back on the buses until 45 minutes later.

Luckily the tornado stayed away from the school but it was near enough for it to be a dangerous threat. As soon as we got back on the buses, the skies opened up, and it poured, and flooded.

The good news is we all made it home safe, but in the end, its not something I want to go through again.

NOT Over The Rainbow,

The Bus Driver