Moms and the Schoolbus

I’m the first to admit that on the parenting scale of “benevolent neglect” to “helicopter parent” I’m definately not on the helicopter parent end. But I’ve noticed something.

The cul-de-sac next to us has nine homes on it. Several of these families (three or four) send their kids to private school (ours go to public school). There are definately fourth and fifth graders in the group - there may be ONE kindergartener. Nice neighborhood.

A lovely October day and I drive by during schoolbus pickup time. The kids are out waiting for the bus. There are two parents standing waiting with the kids, and a third parent in an SUV.

Now, this is a cul-de-sac. All the parents can see their kids from their front doors. There is no traffic, no street to cross.

It seems odd to me that you can’t send your third grader down two houses to wait for the bus for five minutes with half a dozen other kids at the stop.

I’m with you. Guess I was a bad moma because I didn’t wait–heck I didn’t even really WATCH all that closely. Oh well, the sons are productive happy adults now so I figure I didn’t suck too much.

Ha. I hate to sound like an old fart but I walked about two blocks, and was well out of sight of my house, not to mention most days, my mom had already gone to work.

Well, the media has made it seem like child-snatching is as common as bears pooping in the woods, and some people believe everything they read/hear about. Paranoia is a strong emotion. Truth is, more children die/are injured in car accidents every day, but most parents don’t think twice about strapping their children in a car and hitting the 'ol expressway. I don’t get it either.

ETA: I walked about 6 blocks to school in first - sixth grade. Sometimes with neighbor children who were a a year or two older, but often alone.

Oh, man, you reminded me. The two blocks was actually in high school. I remember waaaaaay back in elementary school, in Michigan, we lived in this huge apartment complex, and I used to walk to school. So I’d walk all the way through the apartment complex, generally meeting up with other kids, sometimes not.

Then, we’d get to Dequinder Road which was this huge four lane road. There was a crossing guard, and she’d stop all the traffic to let us kids pass. On the other side the school was pretty close.

I wonder how these kids ever obtain any sense of independence, they are coddled so much. I already see it happening to my niece - mom never lets her out of her sight for a second.

BTW, the public school parents are out with kindergartners - if there aren’t kindergartners at the stop, there are no parents. But the private school parents seem to hover.

On my bike ride into work each morning, I routinely pass three school bus stops, and each has at least one parent waiting with the kids.

I don’t remember my mom ever waiting with me at the bus stop. I rode the bus and/or walked to school nearly every day from first grade on.

I guess it’s a miracle I lived through childhood.

I used to ride my bike to school, about a mile and a half, starting in first grade. My sister rode with me for two years, but then she was in high school, so I was on my own in third. Granted, Alameda is pretty quiet, with a 25 mph limit, but it’s still a lot of streets to cross.

From second grade on, we walked at least ten blocks to school by ourselves or with another kid our age.

I used to walk 4 blocks to the bus stop by myself everyday. Actually, that’s not true - mom always went with me the first day or two of each school year until I got to high school.

The kids in my neighborhood have to walk to school - the town provides no bus services for the kids around here. Those parents would probably be the ones who drive their kids every day!

My unkind thought is that the private school parents are sending their children to private school because Mom and Dad have control issues, and hovering at the bus stop is just another manifestation of this.

In fairness, a certain homeschooling parent of my acquaintance has commented unkindly on the tendency of many people to make an idol out of education, and it seemed inappropriate to suggest that while she may be an outsider to the public school system at this point, I’m not at all sold on the notion that she’s not making an idol out of education herself.

<snort> I walked about half a mile to the bus stop, by myself. I’d cut off maybe a third of it by climbing a fence sometimes. And it’s not like I was such an adventurous child. My parents were just, you know, sane.

I walk my kinder kid down to the bus (or his mom does). It isn’t as much for him as it is a chance to have a little socialization with the other parents in our neighborhood. I often can pick up key bits of information (science fair coming up, early dismissal, soccer sign-ups start now, etc.). A cup of coffee, a short walk, a little time with my son - it isn’t helicoptering as much as it is a routine.

We did the same with our older son through 4 or 5th grade as I recall. Starting in 2nd grade he started going on his own more, but those few minutes are still nice.

I would have died of embarrassment if my parents had stood within a half mile of me while waiting for the school bus. (1970’s)

But this does show one good aspect of parent/kid relations these days: kids don’t keep as much distance from their parents they way my generation did.
I think cell phones are responsible for a huge change of attitude.Teenagers (and even younger kids) live permanently attached to their cell phone. They thrive on being connected to all their friends, and expect instant availability at all times. And since they don’t want to miss any calls from friends, they don’t mind that the next call might be from Mom instead. Even if it’s during a wild party.

Interestingly, I’ve noticed the same difference in behavioiur between state and private school parents here in Britain.

I see this as a product of caller ID and voicemail!

I’ve seen parents lingering for 10-15 minutes after the bus has gone. I always assumed they just liked to socialize. Sort of a modern day ‘coffee klatch’.

We have a big school bus stop about a block from our house (can’t see from our house). A lot of parents, but not all of them, wait out there. I think it’s mostly a social thing, although I do find the few in the big SUVs a bit odd. There are so many kids at this bus stop that it is the only stop. Besides parents there are siblings to young for school, dogs, the occasional grandparent, and I thought I once spotted paedophile staking the place out, but I’ve not seen him again lately. FWIW my kid walks to the stop by himself every morning, but he is in the oldest age group (5th grade). I can’t recall if my daughter was always escorted. My son is okay with me walking him over, but it’s embarrassing if mom goes.


Pet Peeve Alert!!!

At minimum, once school starts for about the first few weeks, I get at lease 5-10 of these e-mails and calls each day:

mbg” I am the the parent of a (fill in the blank) grader at Whatever School. *
I would like to have the bus stop that my child is assigned to changed. I am requesting this because:

A) My little demon has to walk to the end of the block and that’s just too far for my widdle pwecious.

  1. My wife is home with our two year old and/or a baby and cannot see the bus stop from our window.

I swear to the Bus Gods that one day soon, I’m to respond to these people the way I want to, but then I may as well clean out the office.

***Note:**This same mail has come from parents with kids old as 9th grade. I shit you not.

We have gone so far as to include some of these in the FAQ’s on our website, and STILL I get calls from people who argue even after I explain and try to make them understand reality:

The bus drives right past my house. Why can’t it stop at my house?
The higher frequency of stops makes the motoring public impatient. This results in people driving around the bus, a dangerous situation. It also delays the bus by increasing the number of stops and makes the student ride time longer. Stops are placed to be convenient for groups of students in the subdivision.

I can’t see the bus stop from my house.
We provide transportation for over 11,000 students. We are not able to position bus stops so that all parents are able to see the stop from their home.

I leave for work early and can’t watch my child get on the bus. Can’t the stop be at my home?
In order to be consistent and fair in placement of bus stops, we cannot establish stops based on personal circumstances.

And so on.

In my state, unless you live 1.5 miles or have to deal a serious hazard, they do not receive bus service. So someone can walk to school up to 1.5 miles but someone else who has a bus stop to walk to can’t walk 4 houses down the street?


Parents piss me off.

Once, last year, I had some guy so mad at me because I wouldn’t move a stop ONE HOUSE so his wife could see the stop from her front window. (oh, yeah tell me they’re standing at the window watching all morning) He eventually was so pissed he sent an e-mail - containing an 8 page Powerpoint with Google Maps and penciled in sight lines, homes of current students highlighted, threats to Alert the Media - to everyone on my school board, the Superintendent, the MAYOR of his town, his STATE REPRESENTATIVE and everyone on his block whose address he knew. The powerpoint was remarkable in that it was beyond mean spirited, I seriously considered showing it to a lawyer. I’m an incapable, non-caring, egotistical person who should never be given responsibility over anyone or anything.

So, I never showed this to a lawyer. I did better. I noticed that the dork had sent the mail from his work e-mail account. The Powerpoint was produced on a computer registered to his company. I Googled his company. Easy enough, they’re a pharmaceutical company that deals in some specialized Cancer drugs. He’s the Midwest Sales Director.

I forwarded the mail. To: His company president, the lady listed as the HR director, and the US Sales Director, who I assumed was his boss.

Pimpy and mean? Oh hell yes.

The one that responded was the US Sales Director. A fairly long VERY apologetic letter, explaining his company’s technical use policy, their internet use policy and that yes indeed, just as I speculated, Mr. Jagoff had violated their policies. Finally, thanking me for bringing this to their attention, they can FULLY assure me that there will be no repeat and asking that I contact him directly should Mr Jagoff get in touch with me again for anything other than a legitimate concern.

You don’t mess the The Bus Guy.

Bravo, Mr Bus Guy, bravo! I just shed a tear of pride.

My neighbor walks her almost 10-year-old triplets to the end of the driveway every day and stands there with them. I don’t get it. Hey…it’s a pretty fast road, but adding her to the mix isn’t going to slow the traffic down. I don’t understand the necessity.