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Am I too overprotective?

Posted by Azarae_Duske (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 7, 01 at 18:52

I have 2 daughters, 8(3rd grade) & 5(Kinder). They have this bus driver that is just a witch in my opinion.
I had asked to have the bus stop moved closer to the house(it's just a smidgen under a mile) since winter was coming & she deliberately started dropping them on the side of the road where there is no sidewalk(not good with snow coming) because it disturbed her cigarette break at the end of the day. So I had them put it back where it was.
Now my daughters were talking & I heard my oldest telling the youngest to be quiet, it was a secret.
When I pressed, I find out this driver had "talked" to Sara(the youngest)about being rude to another child. Then she told Sara she'd be suspended from the bus if she did it again(I've received no notices of problems). And proceeded to tell Sara she needed to be more like her sister(Sara all ready has a learning disability & some self-esteem problems).
Next she told the girls she'd give Sara a second chance & not to tell their mom because it would be a secret.
Needless to say I was so mad I could have thrown a fit, but I called her supervisor & was told that was their best driver & he insinuated my children were liars.
I'm in a quandry over what to do, any idea's? Am I being to overprotective? I feel like she is teaching my children it's okay to lie to me.
Thank you,
K.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Am I too overprotective?

I would file a report with the school district. Your tax dollars pay her salary, therefore you are her employer.
Whatever you do, do not try to confront her personally. Its not appropriate and its not safe.
Tell your children that it is not safe to keep ANY secrets from you. Especially when an adult is involved, teacher, bus driver, coach ect...
Document everything the children tell you.
If you feel the situation is placing your children in jeopardy, then just drive them to school.
Let us know how this works out.
Susie


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

Call the transportation manager in your school district and let him/her know what has happened.


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

No, you are not too over protective...a phrase that is almost an impossiblility in my opinion, because its contradictory. A parent can over react, but be over protective? no.

I think the bus driver is completely in the wrong, but I dont think you will ever get anywhere with it. That is why mine dont ride a bus. Your choice is to work it out with the driver or take your kids off in my opinion, because the school wont do anything about it.

Oh, just my 02, I would try not to tell one daughter to be more like the other daughter, that really creates self esteem problems, though I undertand why you did it. Comparing our kids is natural but can really lead to disaster.


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

Maybe I wasn't too clear earlier, I know I was having a complete fit, but I didn't tell my daughter to be like her sister, the driver did :(
Thank you all for your input, I wish I could take them off the bus, but I'd never make it to work on time if I did.
K.


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

I wonder (if you hadn't already gotten the drop off point changed), if there wasn't something you could have done about her leaving the kids on the side of the road. I don't think that can be done, can it? At least not where I live. They won't do it unless a parent is there to pick the child up...but of course I could be wrong.

Unfortunately, I doubt you'll get anywhere with the other complaint. I'm sorry your kids have to deal with her. Also, if she's their best driver, it must only be the driving, b/c she can't handle kids very well!!


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

Man dont you hate when other people compare our kids??? Im sorry you did say it was the bus driver, I think my eyes read faster than my brain sometimes on here!

Well, if your kids are absolutely stuck riding this bus, with this woman, to tell the truth, I would be afraid to rock the boat. I only rock the boat when there is another solution, otherwise it just may make things worse. I would just be telling my dd to be as good as possible and PRAY. There is nothing worse than being stuck with someone you cant get away from, especially a teacher or someone in authoritve position.


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

Sounds like there have been some little issues and this is just the latest to be added to the pile, but, I'm thinking they probably don't all belong in the same pile. Where I live if you want to have the bus stop moved closer it almost takes an Act of Congress! It isn't up to the bus driver, it has to go through the head of transportation who then tells the bus driver where to pick up. Transportation here has been a big issue the past couple of years due to funding and there is no way that any of the schools in my county would move the bus stops closer to a home, even if they actually drive past the home to get to the bus stop, especially if it is under a mile. Generally the kids who live under a mile are walkers and here that includes the Kindergarteners as well.
Are you being over-protective? Well, I think I'm the queen of over-protectiveness, but I prefer the phrase that someone else used...over-reacting! Definitely I am over-sensitive. We are often like Mother lions when it comes to our children and no one had better mess with them! Sometimes, and I'm not saying this is the case, but, sometimes our love for our children blinds us to the situation. They're kids and most likely all of the information they have given you is not exactly accurate. My oldest child, my daughter, is almost 12. A couple of years ago she came home from the park and the hockey rink and was just going on and on about this lady at the rink and what she said to my daughter and yada, yada, yada. To tell the truth I was having a really bad day and at the moment was infuriated with my husband. Well, when my daughter told me her story that was enough to send me to the rink to confront this woman. She was certainly going to get an ear full from me...the audacity to talk to my daughter that way! Well...it's a good thing that we had to walk a little bit to get there. On the way over I asked my daughter some more very direct questions and had time to cool down before I got there. Instead of socking the woman (well, THAT was my mood at the moment!) I just nicely asked her if she had a problem with my daughter. Well, as it turned out my daughter had mis-construed some of the information and had not told me everything. DD certainly got her own ear full for about an hour after that! I would have been mortified had I verbally attacked this woman without getting the entire picture first. So, was my daughter lying to me the first time she came home and told me what the woman had said? No, but she didn't give enough details and so it seemed like an awful thing to me. Did she purposely leave out those details? No, I don't think so, she just didn't see them as important (until after she and I talked again) and she was only hung up on certain things that the woman had said. Once again she did not listen completely to what someone else was saying. Why? Because she is a kid and that is what they do.
If Sara was being rude to another child, and chances are it is possible, or at least possible that it was *seen* as being rude or mean, then the bus driver was in the right to talk to her. That is what the bus driver is supposed to do... it is her job to ensure the safety and comfort of all children who ride the bus. When she compared Sara to her older sister it is my guess that she was not doing it in a malicious manner. IF Sara was acting out then it would be normal for an adult to say, "we don't act this way, but it would be good to act like so and so." You said Sara has some learning disabilities. The bus driver maybe just thought this would be the best way to deal with Sara, or maybe she deals with *all* little children this way. *Maybe* she doesn't even know that Sara has some learnig problems. I think because you know that Sara has some disabilities and you know that Sara has a self-esteem problem that you probably are overly-sensitive to someone who does not meet her needs. That doesn't make the bus driver wrong. I am way too sensitive when it comes to my youngest child...you should see the holes I glare through the other little kindergartener who calls him "Poopy Face!"
As for the driver telling the girls to keep it a secret. Well, again, I don't think she meant any harm by doing so. I think she just wanted Sara to understand that the situation was not acceptable but that it didn't have to get any bigger and not to worry about it. I think she probably meant well and was trying to get the point across without alienating Sara. Maybe it was her way of forming a bond with Sara, the begining of a friendship. However, we don't want our children to keep secrets from us, especially when those secrets involve a situation with an adult. WE should teach our children that it is not safe nor healthy to keep secrets from us and we should reiterate that fact from time to time so that they come to us and tell us about a situation.
Each and every day I ask my 3 children about school and, in the case of my two oldest, the bus and the walk home from the bus stop. I am very careful to put specifics in my questions because otherwise they don't say anything. When issues arise I find myself playing detective and carefully asking different types of questions because, again, what we as adults find important to a situation, they as children do not.
Don't know if I've helped answer your question or not, but, hopefully I've given you a little something else to think about after all of my ramblings. I think it's always best to find out the situation from your children as best you can and then (if it is not a life threatening/endangering problem) mull everything over in your mind for a couple of hours or overnight before acting on anything. And, then, when we do act on something it is best to approach the topic from a calm and non-threatening point until we have both sides of the equation.
Best of luck! ~Pam


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RE: Am I too overprotective? P.S.

P.S. I do think it might have been good to have talked to the bus driver and have said something like, "Good morning. I understand there was a problem with Sara yesterday. Please don't tell my children to keep secrets from me, if there is a problem I can't correct it if I don't know about it..." This statement or one similar would have no doubt opened up the door for a little more conversation and also would have let the bus driver know that you and your children talk and secrets are not acceptable and would have shown that you were concerned over her behavior on the bus. I think I would have even asked the bus driver what exactly did happen on the bus and then would have had a long talk with Sara about the situation. Maybe the bus driver's approach was out of line, but, *if* Sara was out of line to begin with it would be important to address that problem as well. Not saying you didn't address the problem with Sara, but, am thinking it is possible that the problem got lost in your moment of anger with the bus driver. ~Pam


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

Not enough information to know, and even then it's a judgement call.

Bus drivers don't get to act unilaterally to change their official routes. That much I do know. I don't know by your statement, if you asked the bus driver or someone else. No matter though, the thing is changing a bus stop on a defined organized route is going to require some bureaucratic action (and there may be a way to at least expedite the change in practical terms if safety is a risk, and if you jump through just the right procedural hoops). Your daughter, if she has been diagnosed and has learning disabilities, may qualify for extra help in terms of services. You might be able to get her a case worker, or an educational advocate who can get that change for you (well, ok, technically for your daughter). You'd have to know who is in charge of the bus services for your school, and how to communicate with them directly if you need to (it really does help if you can get the services of a professional who has some experience if not expertise in working with bureaucratic systems though).

I'm not sure the driver 'meant' anything by not changing the stop. I'm not sure what they may be required to do or not to do in the case of sidewalks or not. It's usually better to keep this kind of change, and any interpretations you make to a professional and nonpersonal level. Only the bus driver knows what they were thinking and they have their job, and who knows how many different children and parents they have to deal with all the time; and they have their own lives and families. It's probably a good idea to avoid speaking directly with the driver if you are very upset with them and already have a view that they are a problem. (I don't know what constitutes 'best' in terms of drivers at the school. But, if it involves stability and dependability and safety then the driver might be worth tolerating).

Talk to your daughters about talking to you. It is very important to have open communication, both ways and that your children develop resistance to adults who might try to get them not to talk to you. As a safety measure it's usually better for them to share when in doubt (even if it's a good suprise to be kept 'secret'). The idea that any adult would even indirectly get your children feeling like they had to not tell you something is probably upsetting. This is something you can work with between you and your children and developing and maintaining open communication. You can help your children, both of them learn social skills and how to not be rude and still make a point; as well as how to not have to make a point (tolerance, or ignoring, or managing personal feelings). The thing is there are ways to avoid being incivil to other people, even if they might act badly first.

Try to focus on what your goals are. If your goal is to have children that won't lie to you or keep secrets from you, then you can encourage them in that. You can teach them that you finding out did not destabilize their lives or your life. You can share with them how important it is to share so that they feel like sharing with you was a positive experience (so they'll want to do it again, or at least feel less threatened about it). Don't talk to the driver or anyone else at the school about this until you're calmed some. You can teach your children about the importance of taking time to be more calm and clear before speaking.

The bus driver thing can happen very innocently too, so try to grant her the benefit of the doubt. Adults can see different degrees of misbehavior or 'rudeness' and react in different ways. One way some respond is to comment 'that was rude.' Then adding a potential punishment 'do it again and....' and like magic, the child behaves like an angel. Pick an exemplar of good behavior as a model so the child can have an idea of what _to_ do and not just what not to do. Oh yeah, and by the way 'this is just between us' or 'don't tell your mother.' There may be implied favors in letting this one incident slide, or there might be implied threats, either way the children are usually pretty motivated not to share (especially if there was something they might agree was 'bad' behavior). That bus driver might rely on their authoritative positive, and that particular way of managing on the bus incidents effectively. Making their process more orderly, bureaucratic, and with a lot of paper work and steps through parents may not be practical in terms of actual bus ride safety issues. Incidents can escalate or arise, and a bus driver may need to have some way to manage things on the fly...

Anyway it's complicated, and your daughters probably know what a 'lie' is. Depending on their ages and stages they may also get the concept of lying by omission or how not talking to you about how adults interact with them might be a problem for you. You can clarify your need to know from them, with them. You can talk to your daughters about what the behavior was which was 'rude.' You can also ask the bus driver, or the other child what happened that day. Basically, they all will have their own ideas and feelings about what the behavior was and why it was rude. And, they may not agree either. People are individuals that way.

you can talk to your daughters about talking, and about sharing their day with you... sometimes adults do things like say 'don't tell your mom' or your parents or whatever; in fact, the child themself might even agree or feel like they shouldn't tell.... help them to see why they should tell and share with you and why it helps you be a better parent

P.S. Other people are beyond your control in general, their personalities especially. You might or might not be able to get the bus stop changed but that's a different issue. I don't know if the driver meant anything untoward by the way they acted or even by what they said. I do know though that you can have a more constant and more consistent effect on what and how your children do learn, so try not to waste too much time being angry about the bus driver in general.


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

Just read over my message again, should not have posted it so soon afterward the incident I think.
To clarify, I've had problems with the Trans. Dept. for going on 4 years now, this is the second year with this driver & there basically is no one who will do a thing about it.
To add to this incident, she has lied about dropping my children off, drove to 3 other stops then brought them back(I had walked to the stop to get the girls & she "forgot" them). When I called the bus garage on my cell, she said she had dropped them off. They told me my kids were there & to quit over-reacting & hung up.
She screams & the children(not just mine)for insane things. I could here her at the stop about 2 blocks away yelling at a kid "Sit up straight, you look like a retard when you do that!" I reported that also, did no good.
I'm just at my wits end since the Admin. & Trans. will do nothing about her & she is their "star" driver.
BTW, I also work with another lady whose children ride the same bus, they are 12 & 10, my co-worker has in the past complained & gotten the same "results".
Thanks for letting me rant :/~
K.


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

Okay, I'm sticking my neck out here because you may not want to hear this. I'm not defending the bus driver, who I feel showed poor judgement.

She felt your youngest daughter was rude to another child--fine--whether it's a fair assessment or not, that's what she felt, and she should have discussed it with you or her boss. Perhaps she felt she was doing your daughter a favour by keeping this a secret from you (and perhaps punishment from you)--thus giving your daughter a second chance. That was poor judgement, and she was out of bounds to tell your daughter to be more like her sister, AND to keep it a secret from her parents. The board then worsened matters by suggesting your daughters were liars.

But while the bus driver showed poor judgement, you have to consider the other side as well, hard as it is. WAS your daughter rude to another child, to the point that the bus driver would overhear it and take this kind of action? You may want to ask your older daughter is a friendly way, "Tell me honestly, what did your sister do/say that the bus driver thought was rude?" Or ask your younger daughter too, ensuring her she won't get in trouble if she tells the truth.

A child who is truly rude or disruptive can put the safety of other children on the bus at risk. I've seen it happen. And I've also heard bus drivers say, okay, we won't tell your parents this time, it will be our secret, but this is your last warning. I'm not saying I agree with that method, but I also realize that to call the parents every time a first, second, third offence happens would mean a lot of phone calls.

Bottom line, don't let the bus driver's behaviour block out the second issue you should be attending to--your daughter's behaviour on the bus.


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

If you want to direct yourself to getting the driver deemed 'incompetent' or to getting them fired, get legal advice. Seriously, that is a bureaucratic legal issue and you should have a lawyer manage your communication if you want to be adversarial. (Acting personally or informally and as an adversary is generally not a good idea in any situation). This will in all likelihood destabilize their life, and you may need to take steps to increase your (and your children's) security. The most basic being to introduce a lawyer or mediator to give you a buffer so that there is no need for personal contact.

Someone like a lawyer will also be in a better position to know who to interview and how to interview them. If the driver is a problem in their position, and they should not be working with children then you should begin this sort of thing very officially and formally.

Is it possible to carpool with another parent or parents; or to find some other way to get your children to school? Under the circumstances, if you can't get along with or trust the bus driver and that seems to be mutual, then you might want to look into other options whether or not you pursue anything legal. This kind of thing isn't 'overprotective' so much as managing an extreme personality conflict between adults and since you have children depending on an adult you find to be 'problematic' then you might feel a need to stop using the bus service. (I would restrict it to being an 'adult to adult' conflict so that your children don't inadvertently end up feeling like they are in the middle or like they caused it. Children just tend to feel that way in situations like this, so be clear about the problem being you and the bus driver in a way that allows your children to feel secure about their position with the adults in their lives.)

Does your school district offer any kind of mediation services? They might, and that might be one way you could find out about why the driver did the things they did. Provided they don't lie but the issue of lying can be complicated. For example 'why did you drop my kids off at a wrong bus stop' sounds straightforeward, but if they were not 'dropped off' but rather facing some sanction for behavior and having a 'time out' before the bus went back to get them and take them to the correct stop.... the driver might say they did no such thing, dropped the kids off at the correct stop but was running late or something. Who knows what they were thinking. A lawyer or a mediator could probably get someplace faster than a lay person though. There might be policies where some behavioral problems are allowed to get that sanction, and there might be required follow-up (immediate parental notification comes to mind). There might not be, but you should have an advocate if you need to work the system.

do encourage your children to talk, and to know that their lives are not badly destabilized or otherwise upset by 'telling' when they were told by an adult not to (you don't want to reinforce the message that 'telling' you is or could be bad for them)

P.S. If the issue has got you in knots of anger and outrage, and how could it not. This site has a lot of good practical tips (they call them tools) for managing anger, and related information.
http://www.rfl.com/challenges/ch_1_a.cfm

The stressdoc site has good information and attempts to incoporate humor, but doesn't offer the same kind of practical tips. This is their page address about anger in general.
http://www.stressdoc.com/news198211.htm


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

Talk to other parents and see if they have any problems with her. We once had one that was mean in high school, I actually got off the bus and found a ride from a friend, she wasnt going to let me off but my now brother-in law pulled the door open and we got out. That night all the kids were over 1 hour late getting home because she pulled over and made them all sit on the side of the road, now these kids were all over 13. She smacked one girl right in front of her 3 yr old that used to ride beside her with no seat belt on and run up and down the aisle bugging everyone. Well that night over 20 parents called and reported her behaviour especially how so many were worried that the kids were home late and for no reason. She was fired the very next morning and we never saw her again.


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

I too would be upset in this situation. In my opinion, I think the only reason the bus driver said anything to Sara was to get back at you for trying to get the bus route changed. You were trying to get something changed and she didn't like it, so she took it out on your kids.
I think it's ridiculous that your children have to walk almost a mile to the bus stop. My son walks to the corner and I think that's too far! :O) Especially when it's cold or icy out. I'd check to see if the school has a "before school program" so that you can drop the kids off yourself and still make it to work on time!!
Good Luck and Take Care!
Mac


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

I would be very upset hearing about any adult not related to the children asking them to keep something a secret from their parents. That is where I would base the foundation of any complaint. Teaching a child to keep secrets from their parents is how children can end up becoming victims and statistics in a police file. A bus driver telling another person's child to keep this a secret from the parents was a dangerous practice that the board needs to know about and respond to seriously. How many and what other "secrets" does this bus driver have with the children on this bus? Unfortunately, we live in times when we must ask this question. Write a letter of your concern to the highest named official you can reach that has dealings with the school buses. I know from experience that letters of complaint receive far more attention than phone calls of complaint, because while composing a letter the person complaining takes more time to concentrate on the main issue and the point they want to make so that they will be clearly understood. Decide what your complaint actually is. Is it that she had your children keeping secrets from you? Is it that she told your daughter to act more like her sister? Is it that your daughter was told she was being rude to another child and she failed to let you know of a problem? Is it that you are upset that the driver let them off at an uncurbed area? Is it that they can't be let off closer to home? Focus the letter upon ONLY ONE major issue and stick to that one issue alone. Don't muddy the waters with multiple complaints in the same letter. Send the letter registered mail, return receipt requested, so that you will have a record that you had correspondance with them. You may have developed a reptutation as a complainer with the entire department, which is not good and you will have to re-establish that you have some very valid complaints that are not being recognized. Let them know in the letter that if the issue is not mutually settled soon that you will be discussing this issue with other parents with children on this bus and will form an alliance with them and take whatever means necessary to be recognized. You need to be very specific on your complaint tactics and not waiver or change the issue midstream. You must also be prepared to take all follow up action that you state you will, if the problem isn't settled.


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

good luck in trying to get this taken care of. DS had the bus driver from HE!! for 4 yrs. We were constantly reporting things she did to the school and the school system. She would lie to them and they would always take her side. There was suppose to be a seating arrangement on the bus where the kids sat by grade. Kindergarten was in front, 6th in back. DS got in truoble on the bus at the end of 3rd grade and was suppose to sit at the front for the first 2 weeks of 4th grade. It took us 2 yrs to get him back to sitting with his class even though he had no "slips" issued to him for the 2 yrs. She would even taunt and tease him and the older kids would too (for sitting with the younger kids). Once when DH was waiting for the bus with DS she was trying to talk to DH. He could not hear her so he stepped up on the bus. She started screaming that she was going to radio for the police. No one would help us or even beleive us about the crazy things she would say or do.


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

I live on a busy street that does not have any sidewalks. In my town, there is an rule "children on busy roads with no sidewalks get dropped off at their house." Children in neighborhoods walk to the end of their street and get picked up there.

I thinks it's terrible to expect a 5 yr old and an 8 yr old to walk in the winter on a busy road. I feel there is no excuse for this, you should call the principal at their school to complain.


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

Hi,
no you are not to over protective. My son started school early due to delays and went to a larger town. When he did get school aged and could go here locally he had a great driver. After a few years he got a new driver that wanted to combine houses( fine in nicer months) but in the winter with no sidewalks there was NO WAY my son was going to walk the short way to our house on the road. I called the garage 2 times and complained. I was treated as over protective as my son was 10 ( looked older ) but he is challenged in a few areas.
On the way to school the driver had to stop with my son out there. On the way home he would drop him next door( as there were 3 houses in a row with kids..so it was the middle) This happened twice...the third time I stood in the road and made the bus stop. I then imformed the driver of my concerns. And made it CLEAR I was unhappy but able to stand in the middle of the raod everyday at 2:55.
All 3 houses of kids get on here as they can see the bus coming inside a semi-heated garage. And now they all get off right in front their houses. And the driver now gets fudge for Christmas. Happy ending all around:)


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

Amaqan: Good for you - but thank God you didn't get run over :)

You said you give your bus driver fudge for XMAS -- I was thinking of giving my daughter's bus drivers a gift too. I don't bake so I was thinking either of a card with money or gift certificates. I have two drivers to give to. How much money do you think I should spend, $10 $15 or $20?


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

Here's the deal: I wouldn't trust just anyone with the care and transportation for my child if I knew this type of crap was going on. Too often you hear horror stories of the bus ride to and from school. Whether it's the bus driver who ignores the kids while the bus bully harrasses them, or the driver who yields their power like a weapon, I wouldn't let my child step foot on that bus. Fortunately our daughter attends a school that doesn't provide transportation so we drive her, but even if she did we wouldn't put up with that crap. You are way more patient than I am. : )


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RE: Am I too overprotective?

If I were you, I would press this! It is inexcusable that the driver lets your young children off where there is no sidewalk. I have seen so many bus drivers (thankfully without children on board) pull out in front of other cars, speed, and have cigarettes or cell phones dangling from one hand...now how do they drive when there are children on the bus?? I remember a driver we had as kids who used to slam on the brakes and let our heads hit the seat in front of us to get us to shut up...he also once sped up to cross railroad tracks when he saw a train coming. My mother was livid when I told her that. Of course he was fired. Thank God! Talk to other parents and see if they have complaints. Anyone that says "don't tell your parents" has something to hide or knows they are in the wrong. Maybe this person won't have a job for long.


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