I am a big believer in parental involvement. Mom and Dad should thoroughly know their child’s friends, friends’ families, teachers, coaches, baby sitter, doctor, dentist, troop leader, ice cream man and Sunday school teacher.
And the snooping shouldn’t stop there. Parents should count how many F-bombs Eminem pumps through Junior’s ear buds, get acquainted with the video games Suzie is playing and even obtain passwords for Facebook, Myspace, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and whatever new fangled social media site went live while we adults were sleeping.
Too extreme? Perhaps. But in this day and age a little nosiness can save a child’s life.
Yes, I’m a big believer in parental involvement, but with one exception: don’t mess with the school bus driver.
These unsung heroes of society deal with enough without you invading their space with some nonsense like, “You disrespected my child” or “you are out to get my little angel.”
The truth is bus drivers like kids. Even yours. Correction: At least 99 percent of bus drivers like kids. That’s a big reason they take the job. They certainly aren’t driving school buses to get rich.
Maybe, just maybe, your kid is being hauled by the one percent of drivers who can’t stand kids. I admit they exist. I worked with a grump named Gene Boos who once muttered, “This would be a great job if we didn’t have to pick up students.”
I amend his statement to “Driving a bus would be a great job if parents supported my decision to discipline their kid.”
Does that offend you? If so, you’ve never navigated a 46-foot, 19,000-pound vehicle on crowded streets on a foggy morning with your back to 65 wound-up teenagers.
Until you’ve done that I don’t want to hear any driver-dissing. Your kid got in trouble on the bus? Get over it.
The bus driver moved your child to the front seat because the little monster was a distraction. The driver kicked ’em off because the kid was a holy terror. Why do you think school bus cameras were invented? Why do some school systems have adult monitors?
Wake up and smell the diesel fumes. It doesn’t matter whether Junior was hopping seats, tossing paper wads, pulling Suzie’s pigtails, sniffing glue or — listen closely here — standing up to a bully, bus drivers have to act decisively when there is a distraction. That’s because one distraction can endanger 64 other lives.
Any behavior that has a driver looking in the mirror instead of at the road must be addressed.
So a driver may use a stern voice. Might even yell. May unfairly single your child out. Tough teabags, it’s a small price to pay to ensure a busload of kids safely get from point A to point B.
So bite your tongue the next time you feel the urge to bash a school bus driver. Repeat after me: “Your kid did it, your kid did it, your kid did it.”
Still want to tangle with the bus driver? Go for it, but not until you try doing your job with 65 rowdy, Pop Tart-fueled preteens behind you.