Schoolbus Stop Situation...was I wrong? (LONGGG) - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-05-2009, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So here's what happened, I walked down to my DK's bus stop yesterday to meet them. I had with me my two daycare boys (in the stroller). Anyway, the bus arrives and out jumps DS (6), DS (5) , then a little girl, who walks away down the sidewalk, then my DD (5) and then another little girl. Second little girl gets part way down the steps and the driver asks her where her Mom is and is she sure this is her stop. Little girl says "yes and that's my sister (pointing down the sidewalk) my Mom said she'd meet us here she's just not here yet" Then the sister yells over that this is their stop and their Mom is just late, and they just live up on the hill (pointing to a dividing street). So bus driver is a bit unsure and asks me if I know the girls, I don't, but then again it's a large wooded neighborhood and it's hard to know who has kids and who doesn't, plus it's only day three of school.
At this point both girls are off the bus and getting upset because they don't want to miss their Mom when she gets there.
So I tell the bus driver not to worry I'll hang out here with them until the Mom arrives . (the Mom being late is completely understandable to me, as it's happened to me numerous times before...)
So we all go over and sit on the grass on the side of the road careful to be highly visable for the Mom. At this point one of the girl's starts crying a bit saying she thinks she made a big mistake, because now the hill doesn't look familiar.
Ok say I, no problem we'll sort it out and find your Mom. I ask the child for her phone number, which she rhymes off perfectly. I call her house and leave a message saying who I was, where we are, etc...
In total we're there about 10 minutes when the Mom comes running down the sidewalk. Turns out they were supposed to get off at the next stop (which looks very much like this one)
The Mom was happy to see them and thanked me and we chatted for a bit then went on our way.
My concern is, upon telling DH about this he totally disagreed, saying I should have told them to get back on the bus and let the system deal with them. (BUT...if this was really their stop and Mom was really just late, they'd have to stay on the bus for the entire route then eventually be taken back to the school, which would be at least an hour of panic for the late Mom who shows up and finds no kids at the bus stop....) I honestly beleived the Mom would show up, any second, late and frazzled like I have many times.
He said that I was lucky the Mom didn't try to charge me with abducting the kids! Or there could have been a fistfight!
Now I just feel sick about it, the girls were adamant that they were staying and waiting for their Mom, and the whole thing worked out in the end....
I'm just so upset, I couldn't sleep last nightwas I too interfering??
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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The dangers of the "what if" situations...it's crazy making!

I think you need to go by how the mother reacted! So I think that you did a really nice thing. Glad to know that there are people out there looking out for other people!

-Melanie
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:56 AM
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You did the right thing. All you did was stand there, the bus driver let them off at the wrong place--the mother should take that up with the school. But how on earth would YOU be in trouble for being where you were supposed to be?! Silly DH.
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:58 AM
 
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I think you did fine.

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Old 09-05-2009, 11:58 AM
 
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I would have done the exact same thing you did. I think your DH over reacted. You were sitting next to the bus stop, it's not as if you took them somewhere in your car. If anything I think the bus driver could get in trouble for leaving the girls with a stranger instead of their parent!

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Old 09-05-2009, 12:00 PM
 
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I don't think there is right or wrong
I think you acted as well as you could under the circumstances. I probably would have done the same. Could have mom turned out to be some crazy woman who tried to charge you with abduction? Could be, I guess.

By the way, if the girls would end up back on the bus, the bus driver would have contacted the school, and mom would receive a phone call. So I don't think she'd be in panic for too long.

The thing is, we are human, and we do what we feel is the right thing to do. The right thing could be many different solutions to the same problem. All worked out - that means you did the right thing! Don't stress. Sounds like mom AND the girls were happy with the solution you offered.

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Old 09-05-2009, 12:01 PM
 
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You did the right thing. I would rather have my children in the care of a mother from their school that I don't know than a bus driver who asks a young child if they're "sure."

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Old 09-05-2009, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well yes...it really should be the driver or the school at fault. They should really have a better system, or even a list of who goes where.
I find that my DH is so out of touch with what my world involves (child related) and reacts in his narrow point of view way, which is fed by media, horror stories etc....rather than real life decision making situations with our own kids, my daycare kids and friend's/neighbor's kids. Where I'm always and I mean always surrounded by our kids, other people's kids/babies, I'm a lot more apt to do things like this, where he's terrified of even speaking to another child for fear of being labled a perv or something... (he's a huge, kind of imposing guy) So I think that's where he was coming from : (

Thanks for the positive words....I really appreciate them.
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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I think what you did was very nice, but unless you knew the girls, I'm with your husband. I assume the mom was waiting at the right bus stop, and the driver told her where to find the girls. But what if she *had* been late? The only contact she'd have would be the bus driver, and who knows how long it would have taken her to track him down, how long she would have waited, etc. The bus driver seems pretty clueless, but the kids are his responsibility IMO and that's what the parent would have expected. No negative judgment towards you--I think you acted like a concerned, community-minded parent.
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:27 PM
 
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It felt right to you at the time, though in retrospect maybe it wasn't the best decision. It felt OK yesterday, and it all worked out just fine, but you're not sure you'd doit again. That happens to all of us from time to time. Don't lose any sleep over it!
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:34 PM
 
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I am also with your husband. I think you did what you thought was right and luckily the mom was not more upset, but it was up to the bus drivers to not let those children off, at least not the 5 year old. The bus driver does not know you, and cannot entrust those children inot your care. I would be pretty upset to know my bus driver left my children in the care of a stranger. If that had been my situation I weould have been waiting for my kids at the bus stop, if they didn't get off I would be asking the driver where they were, I would be calling the school to find out if they got on, if the driver didin't know (but he should). I would fully expect the driver to take them back to the school if he missed their stop, or if I was late, so the first place I would look at is the school, or follow the busroute myself and get my child off the bus had I been late. At our bus children who are in grade 1 and K are not to be let off the bus unless the designated person is there to take them, and they are to be returned to school, so knowing that, it is what I would expect and how I would try to find my child.
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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Things worked out fine, you shouldn't feel bad! I can see your husband's point though. Those children were the bus driver's responsibility until he *knew* he had dropped them off at the correct spot with their mom. I think your DH saying that the mom could have accused you of kidnapping is a bit paranoid. But I guess there are some nutty people out there!

I find it weird that the driver didn't call the bus garage or check a list to see where those children were supposed to get off. Surely on the third day of school there would still be some kind of list of who gets off at what stop?

Can you imagine how that other mom felt when the bus pulled off, her children didn't get off and the driver said "Oh, I left them with some lady up the street"? Yikes!
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:49 PM
 
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I disagree with your dh.

you did the right thing absolutely.

It was really kind of you.
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Old 09-05-2009, 01:06 PM
 
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You did good. And it all worked out. Now you know if it happens again, to look at another solution.

The bus driver already left them off in a situation he was unsure about. He knew you didn't know the family. If anything, he was in the wrong.
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Old 09-05-2009, 02:39 PM
 
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I think your dh makes a valid point (mine may be inclined to respond the same way) but I think you did the right thing anyway.

If I were the other mother, I'd probably be distraught wondering where my kid was and SO GRATEFUL that someone was watching out for them!

Sounds like the other mother responded just like that.

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Old 09-05-2009, 02:51 PM
 
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WELL if my children are ever in that situation I SURE HOPE someone as kind as you are is nearby! I think you did the BEST thing. Don't beat yourself up. As for the abduction charge.. umm I don't know how that would play out. The girls got off willingly.. and would have gotten off even if you weren't there. You just stood by to make sure no harm came to them. It's not like you took them somewhere else.
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Old 09-05-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by marybethorama View Post
I disagree with your dh.

you did the right thing absolutely.

It was really kind of you.
And I'm gad to hear the bus driver was concerned as well it honestly sounded like everyone wanted success but maybe a better overall system needs to be in place. Here the little ones all carry colored cards that the driver knows indicates which is there bus stop its a sticker that goes right on there shirts but is removed right before they get off for added security. Like a green sticker is stop #1 a blue #4 ect.

Deanna

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Old 09-05-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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I think you did the right thing.

This almost exact situation just happened to my 5 yr old on his first day of K. He got off at the first stop instead of the second stop (about a mile away from each other in another community), not knowing any better since it was the very first time he had ever rode the bus. If he had been told to get off at the second stop I know he would have. The bus driver failed to make sure he got off at the right stop. So I was waiting for him at his stop and he never got off, so you can imagine what went through my mind. A teacher was even riding the bus with the kids to make sure that these kinds of situations don't happen! The teacher and the bus driver called the school to find my son. Luckily a mom like you had waited with my son and called the school to let them know a little boy got off at the wrong stop. My son was sobbing when I finally found him and I sobbed with him. I was so grateful to that mom who stayed with him. If it wasn't for her I don't know what might have happened to him.

Anyway, in both situations, the bus driver failed to do their job correctly and thanks to the kindness of you, the kids were safe. Thank you!
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Old 09-05-2009, 03:53 PM
 
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I believe you did what was in the best interest of the child and that's the important part. I know my kids would have been scared and confused in a similar situation and I would love that another responsible adult treated them kindly and helped them.

I am rarely not home when the bus comes but it has happened. Luckily the neighbor mom told my son to wait at her house and kept an eye out the window.

I know the kids would have been fine left on the bus for the driver to deal with but I see this as a win/win situation. These kids were well taken care of and nothing bad happened.

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Old 09-05-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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The kids were supposed to get off of the next stop... so if you put them back on the bus, then they would go to the next stop which maybe had mom waiting for them?

You did fine, but you shouldnt be put in a very precarious situation. Your hubby does have a point. I, personally, would have put them back on the bus. Quite frankly neither you or the mom should be happy and I would call and complain. What a ridiculous situation. What if you werent there? OMG..........

The what ifs are what would eat me alive.
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Old 09-05-2009, 04:08 PM
 
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The kids were supposed to get off of the next stop... so if you put them back on the bus, then they would go to the next stop which maybe had mom waiting for them?

You did fine, but you shouldnt be put in a very precarious situation. Your hubby does have a point. I, personally, would have put them back on the bus. Quite frankly neither you or the mom should be happy and I would call and complain. What a ridiculous situation. What if you werent there? OMG..........

The what ifs are what would eat me alive.
IMO there were no "what if's" about this situation. If the OP wasn't there, the bus driver would NEVER let the kids off. He/She would have them stay on the bus and call the garage and confirm where they got off. It's not like they leave them at the side of the road.

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Old 09-05-2009, 04:14 PM
 
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I don't think you were interfering. I think the situation was totally fine! I mean, yes, crazy stories are reported in the media. But I imagine that in 99% of situations another mom with kids in the same school waiting at a bus stop to help some lost girls call home is not going to result in fistfights and abduction charges. I choose not to live my life in fear of that other 1%. I don't think you were out of line!

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Old 09-05-2009, 04:16 PM
 
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I don't understand why the kids there don't have little tags on their backpacks that are labeled with all their info. Here, at least where I did kindergarten student teaching, each child had a tag with their full name, parent phone number, address, bus number, and bus stop street/location. Walkers, parent pick up, daycare pick up, and bus riders all had different colored tags. No confusion!

If I sent my DD to school and the school didn't have that system I would be tempted to make her a tag like that so that she could have the bus driver look at it if she was confused.

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Old 09-05-2009, 04:17 PM
 
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I don't understand how The bus driver didn't know if it was their stop or not. I get that it was only the 3rd day of school, but all the more reason he should be double-checking his master list.

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Old 09-05-2009, 04:22 PM
 
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IMO there were no "what if's" about this situation. If the OP wasn't there, the bus driver would NEVER let the kids off. He/She would have them stay on the bus and call the garage and confirm where they got off. It's not like they leave them at the side of the road.
From what I read.. the girls were ALREADY off the bus saying it was their stop.
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Old 09-05-2009, 04:22 PM
 
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As a bus driver, I say the situation was totally botched. The girls should not have gotten off the bus. The driver should have used the radio to call base to double check their stop or checked their route information/manifest.

Our policy is that if someone is not there to pick the child up, we wait a reasonable amount of time, radio base, they call the provided number and then the backup number. If no one can be reached, the child stays on the bus for the remainder of the route and if no one can be reached by then they are returned to school. Rarely do they end up back at school, usually we can meet the parent at some other point on the route. A child NEVER gets off at a stop unless they are old enough to be home alone, they have an older sibling who is old enough (legally) to be home alone with them, OR a parent/guardian is there to meet them.

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Old 09-05-2009, 04:23 PM
 
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As a bus driver, I say the situation was totally botched. The girls should not have gotten off the bus. The driver should have used the radio to call base to double check their stop or checked their route information/manifest.

Our policy is that if someone is not there to pick the child up, we wait a reasonable amount of time, radio base, they call the provided number and then the backup number. If no one can be reached, the child stays on the bus for the remainder of the route and if no one can be reached by then they are returned to school. Rarely do they end up back at school, usually we can meet the parent at some other point on the route. A child NEVER gets off at a stop unless they are old enough to be home alone, they have an older sibling who is old enough (legally) to be home alone with them, OR a parent/guardian is there to meet them.



Thank you for that information! I agree. .. if anyone made a mistake it was the bus driver. The OP was an innocent bystander who tried to look out for small children!
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Old 09-05-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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Although I understand that you acted from a good place, the children were never in danger, and you saved the girls from some anxiety, I would be pretty upset if this happened to my child.

If the bus driver let the girls off with you, then he likely would have let them off with other people, some of whom might not have been "right". I wouldn't ever want my child let off the bus to someone who I had never met, and I'd worry that by taking these kids you'd communicate to the bus driver that he could let your kids off with strangers in the future.

Let's imagine that the kids had gotten on the wrong bus, instead of off at the wrong stop -- how would mom have known where to look? How would you have known where to find them? Put them in your car and driven them back to school? Taken them to your house and called the police? It could easily have become a nightmare.

Why not ask if they know their mom's cell phone number, and let them call. If she says "Oh, I'm on my way" then ask her if she wants you to keep them. If she says yes, then all is good. If they're too young to know her number then no way would I want the responsibility of keeping them, because how would you return them?

If you'd seen them even once, and had a good sense that they were in the right neighborhood, or if they could have told you how to walk to their house, or if someone else (the bus driver, the other mom there) could confirm that they were definitely at the right stop, then I'd feel differently, but in your case, I would have either put them on the bus, or had them call right then and there.

Having said that, as the mom, my anger would be directed at the driver and the system, not at you.
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Old 09-05-2009, 04:38 PM
 
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I think you did the right thing.

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Old 09-05-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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I think you acted in a very natural and maternal way.

I however think the bus driver made a HUGE mistake.

I'd be livid if my children were released to a stranger (which you admitted you didn't know them or their mom) at a bus stop. I'd be calling the school and probably saying some not so nice things.

Thank God you are a great person! I don't think you did anything wrong, it isn't your job to follow protocol, that's on the bus driver.
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