Thursday, September 11, 2008

Preschooler left on a bus

My little one is supposed to take the bus next year and I am petrified! I am so worried he will get on the wrong bus or get left on the bus or get off at the wrong stop... it scares me! I know a lot of people let their kids take the bus and I probably will too, but this story HOI 19 ran today is making me lean towards carpooling!

Two school district employees in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois have been suspended after a pre-schooler was left on a bus for thirty minutes yesterday.

Unit 5 Superintendent Gary Neihaus says an employee discovered the child yesterday in the bus barn during a routine inspection. A bus driver and bus monitor are both out of work until a unit five investigation is finished.

In a press release, Neihaus says the employees did not follow procedure and search the bus at the end of their route. He says the child was sent home and the district apologized to his family.
Neihaus says the district is taking steps to prevent this from happening again.

Do you or will you let your kids ride the bus?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Diane Vespa said...

Jen this same thing happened to our son on his first day of Kindergarten. He inadvertantly got put on the wrong bus. He was missing for 90 minutes. It was the most frightening experience of my life... and so began my work in "community activism".

After this event the school district had to work with us to convince me to put him back on the bus. They let me ride with him the next day. They instated some policy changes so it didn't happen again. They explained all the safety features contained within a school bus. They demonstrated that statistically your child is safer taking the bus than carpooling. After all, you don't know how good the other Mom is as a driver, how safe her car is or if her carseats are installed properly.

Even given the dramatic experience we had, we still decided that our son would be better off taking the bus.

Good luck in your decision. It will be one of many very difficult ones.

Here is my story:

Anonymous said...

You should check out the safety feature on newer busses - there's a button that drivers have to press at the back of the bus before the bus will turn off (or something like that). It's supposed to help eliminate this issue, but not all schools and programs have these newer busses. said...

You have got to be kidding! Maybe I will have to quit my job so I can pick my kids up from school or get them a cell phone at age 5! Hah! I can't believe I didn't know this! We will have to chat more about this little situation. When are kids old enough to take the bus and you don't have to be worried about them getting on the wrong one, getting left, etc.?

Diane Vespa said...


Jenny said...

My daughter has been riding the school bus in Pekin since last year (when she was 3 1/2yr). She is again riding it this year. So far (and knock on wood) we have had no problems whatsoever. It is a little strange to me that a bus driver wouldn't notice that the child wasn't on the bus or didn't get off. We have the same drivers (for the most part) every day and they know their stops and get to know the kids after the first week or so. They also have to wear a colored badge on their backpack that tells everyone at school and on bus where they belong, what their name is and what room they are in. They are also supposed to have a list of who is and isn't riding the bus for that day.

I guess things like this can and do happen but overall it has been a good experience for us and my daughter loves riding the bus!!

Shannon said...

My kids ride the bus here in Pekin and like Jenny said, the drivers get to know them and the route really well. Plus, I've found our school is very vigilant in their dismissal process. Nothing is foolproof of course, but I feel they are safe. And it helps now that there are two of them, they really watch out for each other.

We don't, however, have the badges on the backpacks and honestly, I wouldn't go for that. I just don't feel comfortable putting something that displays their name, which bus they get on, and their classroom for anyone to see - that seems dangerous, IMO. But maybe I'm paranoid? I wouldn't put those "tot finder" stickers in my kids' bedroom windows when they had first floor bedrooms either because to me it was like placing a sign in the window that said "here Mr./Ms. Kidnapper - here is the room where the kid is."

Jennifer said...

We live too close to the school for my kids to be bus riders, however, if we lived farther away I would have felt comfortable with them riding the bus.

While it's never good that a child is "missplaced," it seems really rare compared to the number of kids that ride the bus everyday.

my 2 cents said...

Good point Jenny! And anyone who has been in any local school lately will see that they are so careful it's bordering on OCD (or at least it was in the school I was at the other day). I'm sure things are much different since diane's child was in kindergarten. The one thing that would help is if parents would consistently have their child ride the bus everyday. Too many parents switch up the routine (auntie is picking him up, I am, he's walking to a friends, he's not at school, etc) and then it's difficult for any child, teacher or bus driver to figure out who should be on the bus!!

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