Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Why my kids with special needs will never ride the bus
By Ellen Stumbo
One of my kids has Down syndrome, and right now we don't have clear and fluent speech. If anything happened on the school bus, she would not be able to tell me. I am a stay at home mom, so there is no reason why I cannot transport my children to school.
And did you know that sometimes kids have to ride the bus for long periods of time? It takes me only minutes to pick up my kids, if they rode the school bus, they could be riding the bus for up to 45 minutes - depending on how many kids need to be dropped off and the route the bus takes - and I am just not a fan of that option either.
I have gotten acquainted with the bus driver and aide from my girls' school. They are really nice, and the aide seems wonderful. She often jokes with me, "When will you send Nichole in the bus?" My reply - with a smile - is "Never!" And most of the time she adds, "I don't blame you."
A teenager with Down syndrome was left in a school bus for hours. Her grandmother received a call from the school 5 hours after her granddaughter had gotten on the bus. She was then found on the bus, alone. How does that happen?
A young girl riding the bus was sexually assaulted. She was sitting only 2 rows behind the driver, who never intervened. Reviewing the tapes the attack lasted for about 20 minutes, the bus driver ignored what was happening. What the tapes revealed was disturbing.
In Florida, a high school student stood up for a special education student who was being bullied every day in the school bus. How did the school respond? They banned the girl who stood up for what was right from riding the bus!
And there are many more stories like this one. Stories where kids are tied down, blindfolded, or hit. All done to the most vulnerable kids. People abusing their power and strength. It is sickening.
So no, my kids with special needs will never ride the school bus for as long as I can transport them. I am not taking any risks.