Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Kid And The School Bus Driver

So Leah had a recent incident that was rather disheartening.

Two days ago she was getting on the bus leaving school, tripped, and fell on the stairs entering the bus.

As she picked herself back up, the bus driver, the people-person that he is, said "Are You Dumb?"

She was quite simply in her own words mortified.

Understand that this is a kid that breaks the top of the scale on standardized tests - As a 12 year-old she reads at what is at least a 12th grade level and has a vocab to match, with math and all other tested scores in the top percentile. She's also a darn good student, a leader in her class, and not a disciplinary problem at all. To be called dumb was extremely insulting to her. She did not answer back but went and sat down and was upset enough to tell us about it.

This bus driver has been an a-hole for as long as he's been on our route and likely before. He's been sarcastic to the kids, and yelled at all the kids on the bus before for no reason, and while his driving is fine his personality is not exactly suited for the job. Unfortunately there is a shortage of bus drivers and I guess his union keeps him in place as there's been a lot of complaints.

Up until now we just told the kids to ignore it and just put up with it as it tended to be generalized idiocy. But, we decided this was worth complaining over as it had singled her out and embarrassed her for no justified reason, and we contacted the schools vice principal who handles such things.

Wouldn't you know it, but the day before the incident they had installed video and audio equipment on the bus and caught the whole incident.

The audio wasn't perfect but they got the incident and the school transportation administration claim he may have said to her "Are you Done?" rather than dumb, which again is still hardly an appropriate question to someone who just tripped.

So the school has stated they will be handling it, so we'll see what the outcome will be. Considering the presence of video and audio on the buses now, I expect his behavior is going to improve. Otherwise, there will finally be plenty of evidence of his unsuitability to be driving kids around, and maybe it will be enough to amount to cause to replace him with someone better.


Eaton Rapids Joe said...

It is more likely that he will self-select out of that workforce and find work where there are no cameras, yet.

You can help things along by informing the bus garage that you wrote notes to yourself in your day planner to request a FOI request every three months.

When they ask why you would that, you can inform them that you are researching a civil suit against the driver based on patterns of behavior.

Likely the driver will have found a new gig within a week.

Much harder to find a job AFTER you have been fired.

juvat said...

Having worked for a school district, Aaron, I agree with Eaton Rapids Joe. They will react to that course of action, especially if you request videos from the last 3 months immediately.

Remember Tim Allen's line from Galaxy Quest.

Nuke Road Warrior said...

For a few months after graduating College while I looked for an engineering job close to home, I worked as a school bus driver, worst job I ever had. That being said, if a student of any age tripped getting on the bus my first question would be "Are you OK?" My second question (assuming the answer to the first is "yes") would be "Are you sure, do you need to go to the nurse?" Any other response would be immoral and dishonorable. I would expect that if any of my fellow drivers treated a student like that, they would be looking for a new job.

B said...

Perhaps you should look him up and "suggest" that he treat your (and other) kid with a bit more respect.

Or he might, himself, fall up the stairs. Possibly several times.

But I'm charitable like that.

MrGarabaldi said...

Hey Aaron;

What Joe suggessted soulds good, I hate to break it to you, but you ARE a lawyer...You could mention that to the garage in passing....Nothing scares them like a potential lawsuit...especially if you let "slip" that you are a lawyer.

Aaron said...

Eaton Rapids Joe: We'll see how the admin handles it first and keep an eye on it as it moves along. FOIA requests can be fun.

Juvat: Would be a good idea but the recording equipment was just installed the day before the incident so there's no proof of past egregious behavior, but there apparently have been quite a number of complaints.

Nuke Road Warrior: Yep, bus drivers have a tough job, but his response sure was not exactly appropriate. The kid wishes she had her friend's bus driver on our route - that one is cheerful, nice, and respectful, but still keeps the more troublesome kids under control without being a jerk.

B: I always let the powers-that-be handle it first. I assume his behavior is going to be corrected and he'll act appropriately form now on or I'm going to start politely suggesting he be reassigned form his driving job to maintain buses in Barrow, Alaska - in Winter.

MrGarabaldi: True, but I don't like throwing my weight around or making statements like that until it becomes necessary. We'll see what happens.