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?