By Katie M., Triad Smarty Pants
It was only one year ago that I swore I would never put my child on a school bus. Then came the sale of our house and the purchase of a new one. And with the new house came a great school zone, the convenience of a bus stop steps from our home, the freedom from early morning drives (and pick-ups during my son’s nap time), and one very excited little Kindergartner. So, I caved. And I have to admit, it’s been a really nice perk to have what is practically a door-to-door service at my disposal for free.
Yet, I still can’t completely ignore the concerns (see list below) I had just months ago. That coupled with comments from other parents who also swore against the bus. They have said things like, “I can’t believe you’re letting her take the bus. I remember what it was like when I rode the bus, and I don’t want my child exposed to that.” And not to mention some of the things I’ve heard my daughter recite and repeat since being a bus-rider. The worst of which was questioning the existence of Santa Claus! So, does the convenience of this free bus service come with a cost, or am I being crazy?
So here were my reasons for not ever wanting my child to ride a bus:
1.) There are no seat belts. Wearing a seat belt is a basic “rule” in our car that we worked hard to establish and have no exceptions for. Needless to say explaining the lack of seat belts on the bus was not an easy conversation.
2.) My mother’s fear which has been my inherited fear since giving birth. See my past blog on How To Talk to Your Kids About Talking to Strangers.
3.) The occasional news reports of bus accidents. Yea, lots of times they are minor accidents that happen due to very rare circumstances and usually happen somewhere far, far away. But still, they are impossible to ignore and forget.
4.) The conversations you can’t control. Everyone knows lots of things are learned on the bus! I honestly think my first discussion on the “birds and bees” happened on my elementary school bus, and the fact that my five-year-old questioned Santa Claus after just one month on riding the bus did not sit well with me.
5.) The bullies in the back of the bus. They were there when I rode the bus (mainly in middle school) and I know they are still around. They may be a different kind of bully from when I went to school, but they still exist. Thankfully my child is young enough that she doesn’t even consider sitting anywhere but right behind the bus driver. Ok, and I also might have hinted that the “cool” kids sit in the front. So, maybe I’m raising a geek, but at least she’s she’ll be a safe, protected geek!
All that being said, I recognize that millions of children ride the bus every day and school systems take every measure possible to keep our kids safe. And like I said earlier, my daughter is thrilled to be a “bus rider” and I’m excited about the many friendships she has already developed because of her bus stop and bus rides. I rode the bus for 10 years straight (Kindergarten – 10th grade) and some of my funniest memories from school happened either on the bus or at the bus stop. I feel like it’s a “rite of passage” every school age child should get to experience at least at some point. So, despite my concerns outlined above, we will continue to use the bus service (maybe not every day, but often anyway) and I’ll continue to keep my fingers crossed that all goes well.
Is your child a “bus rider”? Why, or why not? Do you share the same concerns? Or better yet, what can you add to this post to support my bus riding decision?
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My son is a kindergartener and is a bus rider…the first week of school he asked why he doesn't have a seat belt but the bus driver does…I still don't have an answer to that question!!
My children (1st graders) are bus riders to school everyday. We have had no issues. I have heard the ride home can be a bit more lively.
My kids ride the bus home (we go to an early school) and I think it is an important part of their school experience. It gives them a sense of independence and responsibility. They create friendships at the bus stop that they could not get through carpooling. Moms and dads make friends too and can rely on eachother when they are running late, etc.
Did a little research on the no seatbelt thing… because the seats are so high the kids are "compartmentalized". Tests have shown this is safer than lap belts or incorrectly fastened shoulder belts (and you know 90% of the belts wouldn't be worn correctly). Given the low speeds and safety offered by a larger vehicle, it's a better bet than speeding down Providence road with mom on the cell phone :).
My kids will not ride the bus- I was the poor kid who had to ride it an hour each way, and it sucked, for lack of a better way to describe it. I went to a K-8 school, and I heard and saw way more than I should have. And since our children will be attending a K-12 school, you can surely bet they will not be on it. I am willing to do the time in the car, simply because I don't want them to experience what I did.
My kindergarten son was a bus rider–until I got really tired of hearing stories every day about misbehaving kids. It seems the older kids were daring the younger kids to do things (eat food off the floor, etc) and one day my son told me a kid threatened to break his nose. No matter what we tried, the bus was an issue. My son is now a car rider and it is frustrating not to be able to use the bus that our taxes pay for!
My son won't be riding the bus. I went to CMS schools and when I started riding the bus, that's when I experienced mean bully girls, saw kids making out, and all kinds of inappropriate behavior and language(not to mention some came from the bus driver) and I went to the top schools at the time. I hated it to the point of tears almost. No thanks..I'll gladly drive my child!
Bus all the way! I rode the bus my entire school experience and I think I turned out just fine. (Even with the things that happened that are mentioned above.) Besides, I saw many of the same things happen at the local playground, pool, and even in the cafeteria. Makes kids ready for the real world. Can't protect them forever.
Just because I wouldn't let my child ride the bus does not mean they are not preparing for the real world. I am choosing not to put my kids on a moving sardine can where there is one adult who has little to no control over what happens. If they are getting all of the same stuff in the cafeteria and other places at school, then I guess that's enough for me. It's my job to limit and filter what exposure they do get- I may not be able to protect them for forever, but I CAN protect my 5 year old NOW.
Althought the convience of the bus is tempting, I do not enjoy sitting in the car pool line every day. But my kids will not ride the bus if I can help it, I know too many bus drivers in our area that tell me the stories and that is just elementary school!! It is really awful what happens on the buses and the driver can not do much about it as they have to drive! I also see them pulled over often and did not know why, now I found out when the kids get to wild, they pull over and wait until they are settled down, so that did not sit well with me either.
My vote is for the bus!