Snowstorms and School Bus Community

28 01 2009

Yesterday was a mess on the roads in the morning.  I drive a school bus, and she got stuck in CorneliusPass yesterday. I had 50 kids on board.   A quick and fast snow storm shut the pass down within minutes.

I had to chain up the bus,and with the help of some other drivers that were also stuck due to a log truck and Semi blocking a curve.  I had help to back the bus and go back the way I came.  Upon arriving on the main highway, the only option that I was given by Central was to go around a looooong way, to the other end of the pass, but before I even got there….  I was told to take the kids to the community center and go back to the yard.   The pass was closed on both ends. Two of the buses got stuck at the school and spent the day there. 

 I got some surprise help on the bus. The 8th grade boys stepped up and helped to entertain the younger kids while I chained up.   Parents flagged down the bus to take some of them home, so they would not wind up on a long trip, and the conditions in the morning made my work interesting to say the least.

After four hours in this stuff, I finally made it back to the bus yard, only to go back out to deliver chains and take the two, yes two, children that needed to ride my afternoon run.   Their parents had driven them to school in the morning.

I felt like I screwed up, by not being able to get the 50 kids to school that morning.  But the situation was out of my control. 

Between  runs, I went home for a while, and thought that I should just turn in my bus key and quit.  But that was a stupid thought.   A lot of work has been done to prepare me to drive a larger seating bus for the school and I was already upset that my new bus will not be ready, and the school district was expecting the bus back on Monday.

I’m still waiting for that bus nearly a week later.  This fast moving, quick melting snowstorm didn’t help my feelings.

So that was why I felt that I should just quit.  But I started to think about how the students responded during our little adventure in the snow.  The 8th graders stepping up and taking care of the other kids so I could concentrateon the road and what needed to be done to keep them safe.  That there is a relationship that has been formed.   That because I have been there every school day, aside from a mechanical breakdown here and there, and that I do care about each and every child on the bus,  they trust me.

How many people trust you during the day?  How often is that trust betrayed?  For these kids I know that they trust my driving and my ability to help them overcome the problems that happen while they are in my care.

Some are still standing and I have to always remind them to sit while the bus is “on”.   Some have a bad habit, but it shows how much they trust my driving.   I’m the type of driver that doesn’t “lay down the law” so to speak, but give the child every opportunity to make up for their mistake before sending them to the principal.  Only if bodily harm will happen by the child’s action, do I even bring it up. 

So many people would not do this, but I see the children the way that God must see them.  Not as they are now, but as the  adult they will become. 

I parent my own kids this way,  helping them to make good choices at their level of understanding.  Kids can be very mature, even at a young age, but I don’t expect them to know and do everything.  What I hope happens is that my actions will be imitated by the kids when they have an issue, not resort to hitting or physical violence, but be able to use words to settle the problem.  If they can’t, that is where I step in, or mom if at home, and help them solve the problem.

It works. 

So if you get stuck with 50 kids in a bus sometime, I hope that you have them prepared to stick out the problem and hopefully learn how to depend on each other in a crisis.

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