How long is too long?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by joneshockey, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. joneshockey

    joneshockey Guest

    Hey Everyone~
    As if my prior neighbor issue isnt enough - I have a question to pose to all of you:

    How long is too long (in your opinion) for a 5 year old ECSE (early childhood Special Education) student to ride on the bus? I just got B2's bussing schdule for the upcoming school year and they have him getting picked up at 7:36 and dropped back off at 12:48 - where the issue comes in is that school doesnt start until 8:30 so he is on the bus for 54 minutes in the morning & school dismisses at 11:45, so he has to ride an additional 1 hour and 3 minutes home. What are your thoughts on this situation?

    Mine are as follows...
    1. He is on the bus about 1/2 the time he is in school!
    2. Older kids are not expected to ride that long --- If you are the first one picked up in the AM, then you are the first ones dropped off in the PM
    3. They should feed him lunch before leaving school to come home since he will have not had anything substantial to eat for 6 hours
    4. B2 last year only had to ride for 30 minutes each way and he still would almost always fall asleep on the way home

    Maybe I am making a mountian out of a mole hill, but to me this just doesn't seem fair!

    I did call transportation to make sure that there wasnt an error and it was the correct information. I was also told that due to budget cuts (blah, blah, blah - I know all about the cuts, however I work in the inner city and things are MUCH worse than in the burbs where I live!) That ALL 23 children that are in his class ride on 1 bus and that is why it takes so long... I can understand this, however shouldn't they do their runs the same way as the older students to make it more fair? Why should my kid be stuck on an unairconditioned bus for that long?
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I agree that the bus trip is too long. on the other hand I don't think you have a snowball's chance in Hades of getting them to alter the schedule since it's already been distributed. Perhaps you could:
    Request that he be seated up front so he is not likely to have other kids mess with him.
    Get approval to pack him lunch/snacks that he would be allowed to have on the bus.
    Reassure him that many people fall assleep on buses and trains so it's not an issue.
    Good luck. DDD
  3. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Yup, too long BUT that is what happens when you live in a country where education is not a priority. I do understand the problems of the bus coordinator and the school district. I'm sure they aren't happy about it either but they only have what they're given to work with. I guess the alternative is, you take him and pick him up yourself or find another parent/grandparent/friend to do it and pay them.
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Way too long.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You might be able to negotiate a one-way trip on the bus, and do the transporting for the other leg...
    We are providing our own transportation... PITA but better than the alternatives. (like public transportation and 3 transfers... for a 2 mile ride - but you don't carry a tuba on a bicycle)
  6. joneshockey

    joneshockey Guest

    Unfortately I work full time & my daycare lady doesnt transport. Sooo I am pretty much stuck with it :groan:
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It IS way too long BUT unless they are willing to work with you or you can get his medical doctor (psychiatrist, developmental pediatrician, pediatrician) to put in writing that he can only be on the bus X minutes per day, nothing is going to change with this. You actually have FAR better chances at getting them to give him lunch before he leaves school. I think there are state and/or federal guidelines on how long a child can be at school with-o being fed. Not sure though - you might have to do some googling to find the regs for the school lunch programs. Violating regs of these programs carries HUGE penalties for the district.

    Sadly, I am not sure ANY state has a limit on how long a child can be on a bus before/after school. Some states have a guideline, but it is NOT enforceable from what I have seen. At least in my state it isn't!

    In our area the average bus ride is about 40 min each way. The ride on the ONE Special Education bus is closer to 90 min each way. But the first on, first off thing applies to each of those routes. I think maybe the problem with the rides being the same before and after school is that they have kids that ride in the morning and after a full day, and kids that ride in the morning and after a half day.

    in my opinion your best bet is to help him learn to enjoy the time as much as possible. thank you used to take a cd player with an audiobook to listen to with headphones on the bus ride. Then after a while he started taking one of those super cheap fm radios (around $1 at walmart or dollar store) and listening to that on headphones. Now he mostly reads or talks with the few kids who are his friends.

    Is this bus supervised by just the driver, or is there an aide on the bus? that can make a HUGE difference in the ride. I hope you get it all worked out reasonable. They are NOT going to want to cope with him on the bus that long if he is hungry. If nothing else, stock up on those protein bars - Zone or Balance brand. Protein is key here, but you want it balanced with carbs and fat. Most of those "nutrition" bars are hugely high in carbs and really are more cookie/candy. Zone brand and Balance brand have the 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carb - which is ideal for most people. They also come in flavors that taste good. I am incredibly picky about food and I HATE things that taste even remotely like health food. Always have - it is a major sensory issue for me, along with the texture of my food. There are several flavors in each brand that I LIKE.

    Anyway, I would pack one of these with BB for the bus. Get a doctor note that he has to be allowed to eat it on the bus (this is if the school says time on the bus is not time at school so they don't have to feed him. It is a totally bogus argument because if he gets into trouble on the bus it will be the principal of his school who is in control of the punishment - and they will exercise "in loco parentis" if anything happens on the bus. So clearly they ARE in charge of him for that time and shoudl feed him before sending him home, but they will try to weasel out of it.) Having a snack that has a good amt of protein in it will make a HUGE difference in how he handles the bus ride at lunch. Actually, I have found that it is a huge factor in having any of my kids behave as well as possible. Most kids just don't handle things well if they are really hungry. The balance/zone bars are a great fast snack with-o giving a sugar rush - to let you know how they taste, my kids have each asked for those when allowed to pick out a candy bar or snack on the way to something. I keep them put up away from the pantry because they LOVE them.

    If your son likes nuts, packets of those are also a good option. I get them at Sam's and have thank you keep a few packs in his backpack and in the winter in his coat pockets. There is a HUGE difference in how well my kids can cope with things if they eat a snack with a good amt of protein along with carbs/fats and if they eat a snack that has no/low protein.

    I hope you can get things changed for your son. Or at least make it tolerable.
  8. keista

    keista New Member

    The only thing I see you might have success in changing (other than packing him a lunch and them letting him eat it whether at school or on the bus) is the first on, last off thing. Usually, it's first on, first off. This makes an equal ride for all riders.

    My girls are on a bus that does first on, last off. As far as I know this is the only driver in town that does this. I don't know why she does this. Fortunately my girls are in the middle of the route, so it doesn't really bother them, so I don't pursue it, but you better believe if the were first on, I'd be griping like crazy.
  9. joneshockey

    joneshockey Guest

    The school districts main office called while I was at the store... they also said thier hands were tied and that I needed to contact the superintendent's office. I will be calling there on Tuesday. I will also be writing an e-mail/letter to each of the members on the board of education addressing these issues. Thanks for all of your thoughts and ideas on this issue --- I know that things probably won't get changed, but I have to TRY since this is MY CHILD it is happening to! I am the only voice he has! Keep the ideas coming please!
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    When difficult child 3 was about to start school, we were offered a SpEd place for him at an autism satellite class. But it was in Wollongong (way south of us, different city) and even if we drove there direct, it would take just over an hour. And the bus that would pick him up form our door, and drop him back at our door, also had other kids to pick up along the way. Because we were furthest away he would have been first picked up, last dropped off. He had already been travelling for forty minutes each way to his SpEd pre-school class and getting sick on every trip. The new school placement would have had each trip lasting over 90 minutes, up to two hours. We never got a timetable, but we were given this information. It was one of the main reasons were had to decline the offered placement. The thought of an autistic 5 yo throwing up on a very long bus trip on winding lonely roads was just too much, I knew they would not get much out of him at school under those circumstances.

  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You should take this post over to the Special Education forum - they are a lot more experienced with the in and outs of things like this.
  12. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Does he really need to be on the Special Education bus both ways? maybe he could ride the reg. route to school with a special bus buddy? the regular route would hopefully be shorter if it goes to the school he is at....
  13. joneshockey

    joneshockey Guest

    Unfortunately, the only programs at his school is tution based preschool and ECSE so there are no other buses that come there or riding with the regular ed kids would be a good solution. I have talked to someone at main office and they say their hands are tied, so I will be calling the superintendent's office on Tuesday as well as I am fomulating a letter that I am going to send to all board of education members.
  14. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I suspect I know why she does this...
    When I was a little girl, I used to ride the school bus and the pick-up/drop-off schedule was always first-on, last-off. I was the second person to be picked up, and it was because I lived a few blocks away from the school bus driver's house. The first girl to get picked up lived on the same street, 3 doors down from the driver. The last person to be collected (and first to be dropped off) was the little boy who lived closest to the school.

    (We never minded, because for the three of us who were the last to get dropped off, the bus driver would always stop and get us treats -- hot chocolate in cold weather, popsicles in warm)

    Joneshockey, if you're in a position to argue about the drop-off order matching the pick-up order, that might be the best way to go.

  15. joneshockey

    joneshockey Guest

    I sent an e-mail to B2's teacher and she has agreed to let him eat a sandwich or somthing like that prior to him getting on the bus at the end of the morning. She also forwarded my e-mail on to the head of Special Education --- Which I was happy about since I TOTALLY had forgotten that I should also voice my concern to her as well. Trinity, I am a VERY resonable person and I would be THRILLED if they would change this situation to the first on first off routing - that is ALL I am asking for, I understand that budgets are tight but changing it to what I am requesting SHOULDN'T change anything with the budget at all, so lets just make it fair for all riders... I wouldnt be so upset about it if he was older and wasnt a difficult child, but these 2 facts change everything for me! His teacher was also going to check into weather or not there will be an aide on the bus as well, becuase if there wont be then I will be even MORE concerned about those long trips!
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It's better than walking, or having to drive him there yourself. They can't go door to door with the kids, and if you are unable to drive him yourself then he has to take the bus. They have to come up with the most time efficient and cost effective route for the bus, and unfortunately, this is where your home fits in with the schedule.

    As a girl my family and I walked to and from school every day .7 miles each way. Rain or shine, hot or cold. I have muscular dystrophy and it was not a fun walk. In 5th grade we merged with another school and had both buildings open and one bus to serve them both. I usually rode the bus from home through all of the neighborhoods to the other school that was five miles away then to the school that was .7 miles away so that all the kids from both neighborhoods could ride. That was an hour and 45 minutes if you lived at one end or the other. I could have walked and often did. When we moved to the further school in 6th grade, I often took public transport and transferred buses because it was easier and quicker than riding all the way to the school near home, then coming back to the next to the last stop which was mine on the school bus.

    It's not pleasant, but it is what it is. I think that you should do your best to keep your anxiety about it from showing. They can't make exceptions for everyone who will be inconvenienced by the length of the ride.
  17. joneshockey

    joneshockey Guest

    That is part of the problem --- they do drop the kids door to door, they dont have standard stops for the Special Education earily childhood program. My issue is that it is the same kids both in the AM and PM so why can't they run the route in the same direction BOTH ways? They have to use a different bus for the PM kids, since school starts at 12:30 for the PM kids and B2 doesnt get dropped off until 12:46. They still are making the same stops so why not make it more fair?

    If the schedule stays the way it is I WILL be picking my child up everyday that I am not working because I dont think anyone should have to be on an unairconditioned bus for that long!
  18. keista

    keista New Member

    DO NOT tell them this until you have exhausted every possible avenue. That would just give them an easy out.
  19. joneshockey

    joneshockey Guest

    Oh no, I have No intention of telling the district this information... I am a teacher so my hours are pretty much the same as theirs, however I am on a different calendar then they are so I have weeks that I am off while they are still in school.
  20. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I didn't read all the responses but in all honesty that is too long for any 5 yr old regardless.

    I'd see if something else could be worked out. I'd check the Special Education forum. But I recall vaguely about something where school must provide transport (other than bus) for special needs students when the situation calls for it. But like I said, I'd ask over there.