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Carpool parents

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
If your child is eligible for a bus but you drive hir to/from school anyway, why?

There seems to be a real bus stigma at our local elementary school. I attended a special meeting for volunteers last week and it let out at the end of the school day so I got to walk through the parking lot with my dds as the carpool line was going. Wow! So many cars! All sitting there idling w/ the a/c running and all those fumes. As if the fumes from the idling buses (who sit there running while the carpool line works it's way through) wasn't enough. I was totally nauseated by the time we got to my car in the parking lot.

I asked 2 neighbors who drive why they drive and neither really had much of an answer. But I am genuinely curious. Is it a general feeling that school bus travel is unsafe? Is it the added time of when bus pick up/drop off happens? (My girls get home 5-10 min later than the neighbors, leave probably 15 minutes before them.)
post #2 of 36
Last year in public school:

One of my kids has sensory issues as part of her autism, and simply couldn't handle the regular bus. She'd have to ride the short bus, but she's totally mainstreamed, so it would just be weird for her.

My other DD much prefers the car *most* of the time because of the swearing!
post #3 of 36
We'll probably transport our son on our own next year when he starts kindergarten. The bus comes about 20 minutes before we would have to leave in the morning, and we'll want the 20 minutes plus the 5-10 to walk to the stop and wait for the bus for getting ready/organized.

In the afternoon, he'll go to afterschool, so we'll pick him up from the school hours after the school day ends.

Once he hits middle school, the bus comes at 7:15, and we'll probably still want the extra time in the morning.
post #4 of 36
Right now we are homeschooling but if we weren't they wouldn't ride the bus.

My reasons:
When I was a child riding the bus I found drugs, witnessed students having sex, was bullied and even beat up.

When I was a teacher I witnessed bus drivers do horribly unsafe things behind the wheel. Speeding, erratic lane changes, etc. And those drivers who transported younger kids in vans with carseats had NO CLUE how to operate the carseat or that the seats were SO BEYOND expired that it was just a joke. (In other words, they were not diligent enough). As a teacher I also listened to the drivers talk about getting high or drunk the night before. That sort of thing.

Away from school, I have a dear friend who is dispatcher/manager for a bus company. She frequently vents with me over the character flaws of the drivers. Showing up late/not at all. Calling in sick more often than showing up. Coming in hung over. But they don't fire them because they are always short handed and can't get anyone to do the job.

Oh, and my favorite? The bus driver who frequently bought the students TO HER HOME!

SO yeah, I'd be wasting all gas in the world idling in the car pool lane with my kids if they ever went to school.
post #5 of 36
We live only a few blocks from school but still have the option of bus service. In the same time it would take to walk down to the stop and wait for the bus, I can just drive her. I also go into work, so have to drive anyway. If we are up extra early and have the time (if I am not in a rush to get to the office), we walk to school. DD does take the bus in the afternoon to her aftercare provider and we pick her up by car from there.
post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 
I've read that school bus travel is actually one of the safest forms of road travel out there. My oldest kid is in 8th grade and we've been in 2 school districts and I have yet to hear of a school bus accident with any injuries. There was a very minor accident when my son was in Kindy (the bus was stopped at a light and a car hit it from behind---the car was going about 10 mph. It was nerve-wracking when I got the call, but it was really nothing. And certainly no fault of the busdriver.)

I don't know about the bullying and such. We have yet to have that issue (my kids have ony been riding the bus for a month ). My girls have assigned seats on their bus and they sit together, towards the front. They love taking the bus and seeing their friends---some of whom they don't see during the course of the school day (their "bus buddies"). They especially love when I meet them and bring their dog so they can show him off to their friends. My son does tell me about the more unsavory things that take place on the bus (the neighborhood goth girl with the potty mouth, the rumors and gossip that gets repeated, etc). It doesn't sound like anything different from the stuff that happens in the lunch room.

I guess I am feeling a little defensive because I am picking up on a general anti-bus stigma (locally, not here in this thread) that feels based in classism and racism. We have a lot of bussing-for-diversity issues going on and it's incredibly contentious.
post #7 of 36
My 8 year old rides the bus after school everyday. We live out of district, so we do have to drive him about 5 miles to the bus stop.

Dh does drive him out to school in the mornings, but that's because the bus picks up at 7:25 and they can't ever make it then.

In the past though, he only rode the bus if it was absolutely necessary because of the horrible drivers. This year and last year, he's had a great driver so he rides it more.
post #8 of 36
If dd wants, I pick her up on days I don't work. I can get her home 15-20 minutes after the bell. The bus is an hour plus 15 minutes walking.
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawningmama View Post
I don't know about the bullying and such. .. They love taking the bus and seeing their friends---some of whom they don't see during the course of the school day (their "bus buddies").
yes, when my neuro-typical DD rode the bus, this was why! Bullying wasn't really an issue on our bus.

The kids were just loud and a bit rude (very South Park like sense of humor) but not mean to each other, just crude.
post #10 of 36
We carpool, but only because the bus won't come to our area (somehow we're outside the "zone" even though we're way closer than a lot of other neighbourhoods they service). A friend's ds does take the bus (to the same school as dd) and they have to leave something like 45 mins earlier. Ack! If I was in their shoes I would probably skip the bus and drive too.

As an aside, we are so lucky that we have several families in our neighbourhood with whom we've been able to set up a driving pool. I don't feel so bad about gas use, emissions etc when one car is bringing 3 kids to school. I wouldn't feel great about driving to school if it was just dd, however sometimes you don't have a choice.
post #11 of 36
Ds1 could ride the bus but we drop off and pick up (we go through the drive thru to drop him off and then park and pick up after school so no idling and a/c blasting here) bc of a few reasons:

1. The bus comes a little too early and we need that extra time
2. Ds1 is very sensory sensitive and does well at school but really needs peace, quiet and solitude after school. I figure that riding the bus would just be too much for him.
3. I rode the bus and in h.s. I remember 2 seperate bus drivers at 2 seperate schools who were horrible. One would let the kids smoke pot (only on Wednesdays) and the other would smoke cigs w/us on the bus or right before bc my sis and I were the first pick up. It was gross. He was also very old and a pretty scary driver. I don't really have confidence in the companies that pick school bus drivers.
post #12 of 36
We have to pay for the bus here, and we can drive to school in 3 minutes. However, my kids love the bus, so I do buy tickets and let them ride it every now and then.

If we lived further away, I would have no problem with them taking the bus per se, but I do like that time in the car with them in the morning, even if it's just a few minutes. It's a good time to go over anything that might be coming up that day, or remind them what's happening after school.
post #13 of 36
for my 1st grader she would have to be at the am bus stop 30 min. earlier than we leave the house and home 45 min later than I pick her up. So for us it is about time. 1 hr 15min a day is way too much time for her to be on a bus, and too much wasted time away from her family.
post #14 of 36
When DS is school-age, he won't take the bus (assuming we still live in the town we live in), though it picks up pretty much right in front of our house and goes straight to the primary school.

I have nothing against the bus... I just work in the building next door to the school . Might as well drive in together on our own schedule if we can. I actually might start parking in his school's parking lot (I also work for the district, just in the central office building which is right next door) once I have the excuse of dropping him off, and walking over to my building because their parking lot has plug-ins for battery warmers and mine doesn't. So I won't be idling in the parking lot if I get a plug-in spot . If I park in my building's lot, we'll be idling, but that's because cars don't really like to drive without some warming up when it's -40F .

If we're living back in Wisconsin (we own a house there but live up here, mostly... long story), it won't be an issue because the neighborhood school is two blocks from our house and there's a crossing guard. I'd bust a gut laughing if DS ever asked for a two-block ride, unless he was on crutches or something.

But where I currently live, yeah. There's a certain racist/classist THING with the bus. I don't get it, because where I grew up, the bus was the bus. It was how you got to school if you lived outside the one-mile walking zone. I remember being horrified and aghast in Kindergarten when my mom showed up at the bus stop to pick me up... I wanted to walk that block home by myself . All the kids... rich, poor, white or otherwise (well, the area was mostly white back then, though it's more diverse nowadays and most everyone still just rides the bus). Unless you had a parent who worked at your school or something, if you had a bus card, you rode the bus.

I had one bad experience with one bully, but it got reported and she got in Very Big Trouble and actually had to walk down to the next bus stop for a certain number of weeks, and then sit in the front seat, behind the driver. I don't think she ever spoke to me again, which is fine by me... I have enough jerkwads in my life.
post #15 of 36
Interesting thread! My dd is in 8th and her middle school is a 16 mile round trip from our house!! She takes the bus to and from. With gas at $3+ a gallon here, I'd be spending $15 a week on driving her. I pick her up sometimes when I am near her school at let out time and last year I drove her a few times when she missed the bus (which comes at 6:50am). My dd loves the bus, her time to chat and giggle before school.

With dd's school, there seems to be a safety issue with the carpool lines at her school and some kids have almost been hit by cars. The school has an automated system that calls the house and they've called twice to warn parents of this dangersous situation. Apparently, the parents are not paying attention to which line is the pick up/drop off and which is the passing line!
post #16 of 36
My dc took the bus to school for years. I would drive them on occasion, usually if I was also going in to the school for volunteering or a meeting. Sometimes I picked them up at school if they had an after-school activity. On the school bus, my dc chatted with their friends, played cards, played games. It was a social event.

I know some parents who drove their kids every day, simply because their kids hated the bus and made a huge fuss about it. One was still driving her son when he was in high school. It was long past the time when he would have had to take public transit rather than a school bus. I didn't think too much about it, until she commented about a couple of mutual friends who still walked their children to school when they were in 8th grade. I didn't think she really had much right to say anything, all things considered.

We've always reinforced the school bus and public transit as better environmental choices if walking isn't an option. I think my dc would be embarrassed to be driven everyday.
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
My dc took the bus to school for years. I would drive them on occasion, usually if I was also going in to the school for volunteering or a meeting. Sometimes I picked them up at school if they had an after-school activity. On the school bus, my dc chatted with their friends, played cards, played games. It was a social event.

I know some parents who drove their kids every day, simply because their kids hated the bus and made a huge fuss about it. One was still driving her son when he was in high school. It was long past the time when he would have had to take public transit rather than a school bus. I didn't think too much about it, until she commented about a couple of mutual friends who still walked their children to school when they were in 8th grade. I didn't think she really had much right to say anything, all things considered.

We've always reinforced the school bus and public transit as better environmental choices if walking isn't an option. I think my dc would be embarrassed to be driven everyday.
Are you saying its bad for parents to drive High Schoolers to school? My parents drove me every day of high school. It was about a mile and I usually had to walk home at the end of the day, unless I could convince someone to drive me home (except my freshman year when i went to a school that was much farther away, then my parents drove me and I took the bus to the closer highschool and walked home from there). Most of my friends had cars or were allowed to drive their parents car to school by 11th and 12th. I'd certainly want to drive my kid to school rather than make them walk if it was possible. High Schoolers are so busy with activities and homework (and they need more sleep than adults, so its good to save them the morning time as well) it seems mean to not drive them if you can so at least you've saved them the 20-40 min of walking/riding the bus.
post #18 of 36
I have no problem with the idea of my DC riding the school bus except for when time becomes a factor. Some kids have to be picked up so early and are dropped off so late that I really would feel like a lot of our family time was wasted if that was the case. When I was teaching most often the "second load" of bus kids were leaving school at least half hour after the first load. Sometimes they were still at school almost an hour after the first round of kids had been dismissed. None of this is including the time it would then take the bus to get the kids to their homes! When it comes to DD getting to school if I can get her or pick her up in 10 minutes and it takes the bus an hour to do the same, then I wouldn't be able to justify making her take the bus.
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by junipermuse View Post
Are you saying its bad for parents to drive High Schoolers to school? My parents drove me every day of high school. It was about a mile and I usually had to walk home at the end of the day, unless I could convince someone to drive me home (except my freshman year when i went to a school that was much farther away, then my parents drove me and I took the bus to the closer highschool and walked home from there). Most of my friends had cars or were allowed to drive their parents car to school by 11th and 12th. I'd certainly want to drive my kid to school rather than make them walk if it was possible. High Schoolers are so busy with activities and homework (and they need more sleep than adults, so its good to save them the morning time as well) it seems mean to not drive them if you can so at least you've saved them the 20-40 min of walking/riding the bus.
I was both a "busser" and a "walker" during my school career. In junior high, we lived right on the mile-to-school line, which meant that it was touch-and-go whether we got a bus card every year. Seventh and eighth grade, I got a card. Ninth grade, I didn't, though my sister did (they gave the younger kids cards first).
So... I walked, by myself or with other neighborhood students. If it was cold (like below zero), my dad would offer us a ride on his way into work, but mostly we preferred to walk, even on the chilly days. A mile walk didn't have us leaving the house all that much earlier than we did when my dad took us in (since he had to go out of his way to drop us off, we had to leave early and therefore get to school early and kind of wander the halls for a while).

We didn't consider it "mean" at all, and in retrospect, it was pretty darn enjoyable. Starting my day with a nice short walk probably had me more awake than I would have been otherwise.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by junipermuse View Post
I'd certainly want to drive my kid to school rather than make them walk if it was possible. High Schoolers are so busy with activities and homework (and they need more sleep than adults, so its good to save them the morning time as well) it seems mean to not drive them if you can so at least you've saved them the 20-40 min of walking/riding the bus.
I guess it depends what the rest of their schedule looked like, but I don't see anything wrong with my kids getting that extra amount of exercise by walking to and from school. Driving them in order to save lots of unnecessary time sitting on a bus, however, I'd be in favour of.
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