Bus 82

We had a scary incident with Michael’s bus driver last week–it turned out not to be as big a deal as we first thought, but it was still pretty serious. Actually, we’ve had problems with the guy for a couple of weeks. A couple days after school started, the afternoon bus driver (there’s a different driver in the morning) told Traci at the bus stop that he was going to start dropping Michael off a block past the usual bus stop, which is actually closer to our house, so we didn’t mind. However, we didn’t know that he wasn’t allowed to deviate from his route whatsoever, and when a substitute bus driver was dropping kids off the following week, Michael didn’t get off the bus at his designated stop because the regular driver had changed his stop without approval from his boss. Long story short, Michael was the last kid left on the bus that day, and they ended up dropping him off at our house, but we weren’t exactly sure why. Later, we got a call from the woman who runs the bus garage explaining that it was Michael’s fault for not getting off at his designated stop. I thought she meant the stop that the regular driver had specified, so I was a little confused. After hanging up and talking to Michael about it, I realized that it was actually the regular bus driver’s fault for changing things up, so I called back the bus garage manager. When I explained things to her, she said she’d talk to the driver to make sure he followed the original route. Well, that only lasted one day, ’cause two days later he was back to dropping Michael off one block past his designated stop.
Then, on Wednesday, Traci was late leaving the park that she was helping to build, so she drove the truck straight to the bus stop to pick Michael up (since kindergarten parents are supposed to be there for pickup and dropoff of their kids). Well, she was standing on the corner at his regular stop, and after all the kids had gotten off, Michael was nowhere to be seen. She started approaching the open doors of the bus to ask the driver where Michael was, but the guy closed the door in her face and drove off! She panicked and didn’t know what to do, so she called me. I told her to get in the truck and chase that asshole down, which is exactly what she did. She ended up catching up to him several blocks away and stopping in the middle of an intersection right in front of the bus so he couldn’t drive away again. The bus driver said that Michael was on a different bus, and pointed in the direction that it should have been. Traci was more concerned with where Michael was, rather than why he wasn’t there, so she took off in that direction, but never did find the bus. She ended up just coming home, and we were both pretty scared because we had no idea where our son was.
As soon as she got home, I was waiting in the front yard with the telephone, ready to call the bus garage and raise hell, but a school bus pulled up right then and dropped Michael off. I asked that driver why he was on her bus, and she said that she didn’t know, but that Michael was supposed to ride her bus from now on. I asked Michael what happened, and he told me that his regular bus driver had actually gotten off the bus at school, found Michael, and told him to ride a different bus. He actually went out of his way to single Michael out, but the bus student that lives just up the street and rides the same route is apparently ok to ride on this guy’s bus.
I was pretty confused and really pissed off, so I called the bus garage. The manager there was also confused and said that she didn’t know anything about Michael switching buses, and said that she’d have a talk with the regular driver (which apparently would have been her third talk with him about this issue). I wasn’t satisfied that she would even do anything because so far her “talking” to the driver had had no effect, so I called the school district superintendent directly and aired my complaints. He said he’d get to the bottom of it and call me back.
After waiting until today, I finally called the superintendent back. He said that the driver had been issued a formal written reprimand, and that any other misconduct on his part could result in termination. I’m pretty determined to get this asshole fired, so I’m just waiting for him to make another misstep toward Michael. I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of why he singled Michael out, but playing psychological games with a 5-year-old and his parents is just fucked up. I still haven’t met the bus driver, but if I ever see him I fully intend to let him know that if my son’s safety is going to be left in his hands, then his own safety will be in mine.

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