It wasn’t long ago that I swore I would never put my child on a school bus. Then came the sale of our house and the purchase of a new one. And with the new house came a great school zone, the convenience of a bus stop steps from our home, the freedom from early morning drives (and pick-ups during my son’s nap time), and one very excited little Kindergartner. So, I caved. And I have to admit, it’s been a really nice perk to have what is practically a door-to-door service at my disposal for free.
Yet, I still can’t ignore the concerns (see list below) that nagged me. Those nags coupled with comments from other parents who also swore against the bus. They have said things like, “I can’t believe you’re letting her take the bus. I remember what it was like when I rode the bus, and I don’t want my child exposed to that.” Not to mention the things I’ve heard my daughter repeat since riding the bus. So, does the convenience of this free bus service come with a cost, or am I being crazy?
Here were my reasons for not wanting my child to ride a bus:
1.) There are no seat belts. Wearing a seat belt is a basic rule in our car that we worked hard to establish and one in which we have no exceptions. Needless to say, explaining the lack of seat belts on the bus was not an easy conversation.
2.) The worry that my child will not get off the bus at the right bus stop – a situation I unfortunately put my own mother in on the first day of my Kindergarten year.
3.) The occasional news reports of bus accidents. Yea, lots of times they are minor accidents that happen due to very rare circumstances and usually happen somewhere far, far away. But still, they are impossible to ignore and forget.
4.) The conversations you can’t control. Everyone knows lots of things are learned on the bus! I honestly think my first discussion on the “birds and bees” happened on my elementary school bus, and my five-year-old questioned Santa Claus after just one month of riding the bus. Thankfully she still “believes” at age 8 1/2 so those rumors didn’t stick.
5.) The bullies in the back of the bus. They were there when I rode the bus (not so much in elementary school as in middle school) but I know they are still around.
6.) We get to sleep a little bit later in the morning if I drive my kids to school. Always a perk in our house.
All that said, I recognize millions of children ride the bus every day, and school systems take every measure possible to keep our kids safe. My children are thrilled to be “bus riders” and I’m excited about the many friendships they will develop because of the bus rides. I also think of riding the bus like a “rite of passage” every school age child should get to experience at least at some point. Not to mention I avoid the time-suck of drop-off and pick-up lines at school. So, despite my concerns outlined above, we will continue to use the bus service (maybe not every day, but often anyway) and I’ll continue to keep my fingers crossed that all goes well.
What do you think?