By Melanie, Chicago Moms Blog
I recognize that the beginning of the school year is going to have some false starts and some kinks to work out. The first week I tried to be patient with myself, my kids, the schools and the teachers.
We figured out how to get the homework done, what time to leave home to get to school on time, where to park for pick-up and drop-off and how to deal with school lunch.
My second-grader added an additional kink to our system because she takes the bus to school. She is part of an options program and lives an appropriate distance away from the school so we get to drop her off at our local school where the bus picks her up to take her to her class. Since my preschool daughter has a conflicting start time and because traffic conditions are uncertain, I have felt very thankful to have the busing system available for our use.
I just wish the bus company viewed my daughter as the precious commodity that she is. I understand that traffic can be bad, buses break down and substitute drivers may not know the route as well as the regular driver, but when my daughter is an hour late to her bus stop, I think I deserve to know where in the wide city of Chicago she is and what time she is expected to arrive.
On more than one occasion, I have sat with two little kids going crazy in the car, waiting and wondering where my daughter is. Did she miss the bus? Did she get off at the wrong stop? Has the bus driver decided to take the kids on a field trip to southern Illinois?
I appreciate the fact that the school system provides a bus coordinator and student supervisor at each school. The ladies at our bus stop are extremely gracious and do their best to be encouraging and helpful. The problem is the bus company. When one of these ladies calls to find out where my daughter is and when she might be arriving, the company has lied about the bus’s location and is vague at best about an arrival time.
My daughter knows the route well enough to know when a wrong turn is made or the schedule is off. She gets worried very easily. It bugs me that something like this, where she is completely out of control (and out of my control) is not being handled with more care and commitment. She should feel completely secure about stepping onto the bus that she has to ride twice a day, every day.
My five dollar package sent by UPS or FedEx gets better care and supervision than this. At any time, I can log onto the computer and track exactly where my tiny little package is. Surely my daughter is worthy of more care and attention than a cardboard box with a birthday gift. Why doesn’t the bus company and its drivers understand my concern and do everything in their power to alleviate it? When I complain, I feel like I am treated like a screaming shrew who worries too much about her daughter’s well being.
I think if a bus breaks down, a call to the bus coordinator at each school should be standard operating procedure. If a substitute takes the route, give him or her a GPS navigating system. The substitute should make sure the route is at least generally understood before taking the wheel. If the bus is running late, why not let either the parents or coordinators know to assure them their child will be arriving shortly?
Bus company, I am giving my child into your hands. Please treat her as well as UPS treats my package.
This is an original post to Chicago Moms Blog (http://www.chicagomomsblog.com). You can learn more about Melanie’s first-month-of-school kinks at her Web site, Tales from the crib. She also blogs at Blissfully Domestic.