What I should really say is I have a love/hate relationship with the school bus. In an attempt to balance my cynical self, I'll explore the good first.
- I save about 30 minutes a day avoiding traffic and school-line wait times. There are also a lot fewer people that see me in my
pajamas waiting at the bus stop than there are at school.
Environmental - There is a big billowing black cloud that
hangs before me after the bus departs, but that still has to be better than 50 individual cars driving to the school.
Educational - Since we're so busy after school with activities, my kids have gotten great at doing their homework on the ride and even study with friends.
That's about the extent of my appreciation, and yesterday the bus experience hit a new low.
My middle schooler is the first kid to be picked up in the morning at 6:52 am. So logic would have it that she'd be the first to be dropped off at the end of the day. That's usually the case. But she has a bus driver that likes to switch it up in the afternoon on occasion and drop her off last which brings her home 15 minutes later. Which causes me to worry when she doesn't come home in time. So on Friday when she was 15 minutes late, I went to the bus stop and told the bus driver it didn't seem fair that she had to always get up earlier than the other kids and then get dropped off last. Especially when the bus schedule shows her getting dropped off first.
Of course my middle schooler was mortified, but secretly thrilled because she hated being the last one off the bus. Well yesterday she came home and said her life was over. The bus driver announced to everyone that I complained and she would no longer be able to get them home earlier because my kid needed to get dropped off first.
This made all the kids groan and hurl comments to and about my daughter. Even her two close friends joined in the action and laughed when another girl called her mom (me) psycho. Yes, I'll admit it, when it comes to protecting my kids I am definitely over the top and psycho --- a badge I wear proudly. However, it is never my intention to cause more harm to my children than good. Damn bus. Damn bus driver.
There are many drawbacks to the bus and just a few of them include:
Lack of supervision - my younger set tell me stories daily about the items being thrown
around the bus, food and candy traded, as well as jumping over seats.
A bully's playground
- My 10 year old has been bullied on the bus, and it's no secret that many kids find it the most terrifying
part of the day.
Education - yes, that's one of my positives and education is usually a great thing, unless it means educating my third grader about every four letter word out there.
Confirmation of lack of popularity - kids often go home with other children on different buses than their own for play dates. Sometimes it's big groups, which makes the outsiders witness a gathering that they're obviously not a part of.
Drugs - For the most part this doesn't seem to be any part of the bus until high school. But as one high schooler told me, "There is security everywhere at school, so the only place for kids to deal drugs is on the bus."
What to do, what to do... Sometimes I have no choice but to have them on the bus. I just don't have time to take everyone. Not only that, indirectly, I pay for that bus and they should be able to ride the bus in peace. It shouldn't be such a negative experience. Do you think if I call the bus company and ask them to install cameras with sound, they'll call me psycho?