Friday, May 18, 2012

When It's Your Child Acting Out On The Bus

The bus is a scary place for me.  I hear more horror stories from friends of mine about things that go on during the bus ride to and from school.  I have heard about the red marks on children from others hitting or punching them.  I've heard about the fifth graders initiating kindergartners and first graders into the realm of adulthood with information they quite simply shouldn't know.  And you don't want to know what I've just heard about what happens on the middle school bus.

The bus that goes to our neighborhood school is a big problem.  With 69 students on the route now, there are three to four students in every single seat, which helps to explain - but not excuse - some of the chaos.  It's part of the reason I'm so grateful that Little Miss attends another school and so rides a small bus with just a couple other children.

That bus ride hasn't always been smooth, as there is a child on the bus who picks on Little Miss by opening her backpack or taking our her ponytail or something similar.  It's annoying, but we're working with the school on it and giving Little Miss strategies to deal with it (we know the boy fairly well and know that he has many social issues and has an IEP for several reasons, so we're much more forgiving than were it someone who is simply malicious rather than not knowing yet how to interact appropriately with others).

Mister Man is now also riding her bus as of Monday, and that's another post entirely.  Needless to say, with Mister Man and Little Miss riding together now and interacting like the good friends they are, the other boy has been acting out more to get Little Miss's attention for himself.  He's been pinching Mister Man, getting other children to dump cardboard pieces over his head, and calling him names.  Again, we've been working with the school on this,  and it's starting to calm down.

While I find this frustrating, I understand where it's coming from to some degree.  It's the children who ride the bus who know better and yet still do the inappropriate things that drive me batty.  So this morning when the bus driver beckoned me towards her after the wee ones got on the bus, I sighed and asked her how things were going on the bus, figuring there were more issues with this boy.

I was wrong.  She actually wanted to talk to me about my children who yesterday on the bus were apparently talking and singing about inappropriate body parts, using the anatomically correct language.  I was mortified.  My children?  But.... but they don't talk like that.  They don't use that language.  Yet they did.  And I was appalled because my home training apparently hasn't sunk in.

I quickly pulled them off the bus and gave them a tongue lashing over what is and is not appropriate behavior not just on the bus but in general.  And the mention of consequences was mentioned, though aside from explaining that I would take away things they care about and privileges they treasure, I was too flabbergasted to come up with something specific.  Thinking now, they will be writing an apology letter to the bus driver this weekend. 

I've asked that she let me know immediately if there are any recurrences of this, but I'm still appalled.  My children know better - or should - but that already wasn't enough to stop them.  Do you face similar issues on the bus with your children?  How do you keep your children safe?  And what would you do were you to find that your children were part of the problem?

8 comments: May 18, 2012 at 2:13 PM  

Heh. Welcome to the club of Embarrassed Parents. It's moments like these that remind us that not all kids who do things like that are malicious or unkind; They're just kids. Kids who are testing the boundaries of what they can get away with when parents and/or adults aren't around.

At least they were using the anatomically correct words. I hate nicknames for body parts. :)

Laural Out Loud May 19, 2012 at 12:24 AM  

In general, my daughter saves all her sass and bad behavior for home, lol. She's generally well behaved in public. BUT, she has definitely had her moments, ones that have made me want to crawl under a rug and hide until she's in college. It's pretty much a right of parenthood passage!

I hope things get better for your kids! Having to deal with that, while a wonderful learning lesson in tolerance, is NOT fun.

Pat May 19, 2012 at 11:10 PM  

I don't think any of our sons were naughty on the bus; at least I didn't hear anything about it. Maybe it was the fear of Dad (who was a teacher in the small district our kids were in) finding out about it. There is an advantage to being a teacher in a very small school district where your children are students. Everyone knows everyone else's business. All the teachers and bus drivers know who the teachers' kids are. But if any of them had gotten a "citation," they would definitely have gotten a serious talking-to and serious consequences if it happened again.

I'm sure this incident and subsequent talking-to will cause your kids to not sing/say inappropriate things on the bus again!

Pat May 19, 2012 at 11:12 PM  

Oh, I should say, a serious talking-to and consequences after the first incident, as you did.

Tami May 20, 2012 at 8:13 PM  

My son rode the bus when he went to Kindergarten. He was always hyper and couldn't sit in his seat. The bus drive wrote him up several times. It got so bad that he was expelled from the bus and I had to take him from and too school. At the time I was working full-time, so that was very difficult. I ended up leaving work and staying home. Which now I look back and it was a blessing. Ok, I'm going off track… It turned out that my son had ADHD and that is why he was doing the things he did on the bus. Back in 1995 people didn't understand ADHD or other learning disabilities. School was always rough for him.
And YES he did a lot of embarrassing things. Don't feel bad, it is NOT a reflection of your parenting skills.

Sandra May 21, 2012 at 8:50 AM  

Kids do that -- something so appalling and so foreign to you -- and you both live to tell it. And until you pick your jaw off the ground, you move on. I think writing the letter is a very good consequence and one that will make them remember. We all do unexpected things, and as it doesn't seem like this happens all the time, you can chalk it up to kids being silly kids (on a rare occasion) =)

Michelle May 21, 2012 at 3:50 PM  

Tracey - Welcome to the club? You act like I've never been here before ;) I'm with you on hating the nicknames. We've never used them. I don't want any shame associated with them. Maybe I went too far?

Laural - I've said that before. I'd so much rather I have angels in school and the demons at home. Gotta love what kids throw at us.

Pat - Oooo I like that. Unfortunately, we live in a much larger district so not everyone knows everyone else. They don't have citations, but ugh I don't want to hear about this kind of stuff again!

Tami - Ouch, that's hard. We do have kids who aren't allowed to ride the bus anymore because of behavior, etc. But I know IEPs legally protect a lot of them now, too. 1995 seems like so long ago when you look at everything that's changed!

Sandra - Let's hope that's it. I will say that they both took books on the bus to read, as Mister Man's letter included the note that he was goign to bring them to "occupy himself" while on the bus. Here's hoping it works!

Not a Perfect Mom May 23, 2012 at 8:44 PM  

My kids generally are only naughty at home...
and even though I think I'm a pretty laid back mom, the bus terrifies me and I'm not letting them ride it...I drive

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