One item I forgot to mention in the discussion of planning for spending the new stimulus funds was an addition of $5400.00 for a bus aid. I thought this was for helping disabled students. Oh, no. This is because the bus drivers no longer feel it is safe for them to drive with all the shenanigans that transpire on the bus. Kathy Swanson was mortified that we have to hire a babysitter because kids and parents aren't abiding by the agreement to follow the bus rules at all times, which everyone signs with their registration forms. She figured it should be part of a busdriver's job and why isn't Ringhands dealing with this better? I'm with Kathy in some respects. Kick the hooligans off the bus. Unfortunately, according to Heidi, the perpetrators of bus bullying and other heathen behavior are often in situations where the parents won't make it a priority to get them to school. So what? They will become truant soon enough and get a ticket, at which point they WILL get that kid to school, or pay more fines and fees. You have to stop trying to save everybody. Let them be responsible or face the consequences. How in tarnation will they ever learn if you won't try the "Love and Logic" approach you keep touting at school? Why not try it for some routes. Tough love for half the routes, babysit the rest of the routes. See which routes get in line faster and take whatever data you want. Monitor habitual truants, behavior/discipline problems, happy parents calling in that you finally booted Jonny B. Bully from the bus, you decide what you want to follow and follow it. My gut tells you that you will have data that demonstrates the behavior on the tough love busses improved, the attendance may dip but surge back up and there will be many parents who will applaud the action that brings safety and order back to their child's bus ride. I know I would absolutely be thrilled that my kindergartener wasn't facing fear and mean nasty behavior every day.
Or how about this? I bet a dollar some parents would volunteer to ride shotgun for the bus drivers. There are probably a lot of parents who would love the opportunity to level the playing field for the victims of the bullies and show the well behaved kids there's somebody on their side.
What do my readers think? Does anybody know what the legal obligations are for booting some kid from the bus? I'm not sure what they are, but I suspect that the same bleeding heart who told school districts that they must provide education for the kids they expel would have a field day with the kids kicked off the bus... Have mercy!
On a more positive note, I just came back from a trip to the Madison's Children's Museum. Our friend had her youngest's 5th birthday party there today. Happy Birthday Julian! That place is fabulous. It is the epitomy of learning through play, a scientist's dream! When our first child was born, I was fascinated by what experimental creatures babies are. All three of our much older kids ages 10-16 had a blast the whole time. When it was time for us to leave, all of them said "Why so soon?" I felt compelled to give a donation because we got in for free with the party. Anybody who knows what a tightwad I am will appreciate the quality I perceived in this jewel of Madison. My personal favorite exhibit was the huge doll house. Miniature stuff has always fascinated me. The 10 year old loved the water play, the 13 year old thought the shadow room was AWESOME and the 16 year old sketched me in the Arts and Crafts Exhibit after I told her to sketch the guest of honor. He was darting all over the place and hard to pinpoint. I urge you all to check it out. And if you don't have any kids to take with you, just go and appreciate the awe and wonder in the faces of the patrons of all ages who are rediscovering the joy of experimentation.