Five years ago when my son was in kindergarten I got a terrible scare. Every day he had the same schedule – Monday and Wednesday he took the bus home and the other three days he took the school bus to the YMCA. This was a standing note I had with his teacher. More than halfway through the school year Spencer decided on his own that he didn't want to go to the Y on a particular day so he told his teacher he was supposed to go home. Rather than calling me or adhering to the note, his teacher allowed him to get on the bus home. Once home, the bus driver hesitated because I was not outside to meet the bus. But, the driver thoughthe saw me inside the house and let my 5-year old off the bus! In reality I was 45 minutes away in Manhattan and had no idea my child was standing on a country road by himself. Fortunately he thought to go over to the neighbor's house and went into her garage until she found him. I thank God everyday that he was not hurt but, needless to say, my fury reigned down on the school! What I came to learn however, is that even though a parent needs to be waiting for the bus if the child is in kindergarten, this is not the case if they're in first grade. A bus driver can leave any first grader off regardless of whether a parent or guardian happens to be there. Now I know that kids mature over the summer but does the school system reallythink that these 6-year olds are able to handle themselves in the event that something happened and a parent's not home? While this is written into the school manual it is not publicized widely. Several of my friends didn't know this was the case and were horrified. They've now made side agreements with their bus driver to never leave their child if someone is not at the bus stop.
We think that the schools use common sense when creating rules but that's not always the case. We can't assume anything when it comes to our children's safety. Do you know all of your school's bus regulations? Have you discussed with your child what to do if they happen to get on the wrong bus or are left off without you being there?