The bus driver UPDATE

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    And I'm calling CPS if she's still there today.
    Yesterday she got abusive with me and stood over me and told me she is "authorized" to watch me belt the kids in, like I'm mentally slow and can't close a seat belt. I'd had it and walked off the bus and straight into the Special Education Director's office at the school. The school contracts these bus companies. After complaining all about her to him (I hadn't told him the full story before because I was an employee) he was nice enough to drive me home and said he'd "talk to people." Nice as he is, I don't feel she's safe, sane or in good physical shape to drive my son so I decided to see if the local newspaper would be interested in the story of a lady who admitted her racism not being pulled off a route that had two AA kids on it. And, if you recall, she was very pointed about her racism. "You can't tell me to feel a certain way." "The races shouldn't mix." "A black man asked me to have his baby and I said I don't do that." Blah, blah, blah. She has also don't other things, like refuse to belt in the wheelchairs the way she should--she makes up her own way. She got mad at a hyper little girl that I had belted over her coat (this child only weighs about thirty pounds) and she yanked up her jacket and belted her at the abdomen tightly. She wouldn't let me bend over to held a child up the stairs (she couldn't reach the railing). Her excuse? *I* may fall The poor kid's mom had to hold her. I could go on and on. But my interest is my own son. The newspaper and television station both called me back. The radio station said, "SHE SAID WHAT???? AND THEY WON'T TAKE HER OFF THE ROUTE?" We talked and she's going to get back to me. She said the only way shes could do the story is if I went on televsion, which made me hesitate because of my son. But she agreed to blank out my face and distort my voice. I decided to be nice and called the head of the bus terminal this morning to tell him nicely what I had planned if he didn't get her off my son's route TODAY (he has others who can do it). I swear, she must sleep with him. They think she walks on water. Having given him fair warning, it's their move. I hope they just yank her and I don't have to do any of this. However, I'm prepared to do anything. This woman is not just a danger to my son--she's an even bigger danger to non-verbal children that we have. Not that my son would get off the bus and tell me if she called me an "N." He wouldn't. My sweet boy is very innocent and wouldn't want to get her in trouble, even if she called him a name. She's driving kids with special needs. Well, this is my rant. My hands are shaking on the keyboard as I type. Have a great day and let me know if you think I'm an overprotective, daffy mother. I need to hear it if I am.
  2. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    NO WAY are you overprotective or overreacting! You did exactly what I would do! Good for you, and good luck with it! Newspapers and TV stations LOVE to get ahold of stuff like this!

    Do you know any of the parents of the other children on the bus? They should be aware of what is going on, that their children are being abused and being put in danger because of this woman! They should be right there with you protesting her still being there!
  3. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Let me see if I have this straight: It's okay for her to be a bigot, be abusive and not do her job so long as it is NOT your child in danger. Other kids can bear the brunt of her behavior and you'll keep quiet? Sorry, this bothers me tremendously. There are other kids that need protecting, too. Not just the kids on your son's route. To me, this a fight worth fighting but not just for one route. This woman should not be driving a bus with children on it -- special needs or no.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I did NOT keep quiet. I told the Special Education Director EVERYTHING. The thing is, I can't do anything about the other kids if their parents don't care. I am thinking of visiting some homes to tell them what I've seen. My first priority is to get this woman off my son's bus. But in no way am I keeping quiet about the other kids. Some moms are funny though. They won't care. My goal is to get her off the bus completely. I can't do more than I'm doing now. As soon as it turns 8:00 I"m calling CPS. And, yes, I'm telling them everything, but it's up to them to investigate. The only concrete evidence I have of her inappropriateness is my son's case because she admitted her racism. Everything else is what *I* say vs. what SHE says. We'll see how it goes. I'll keep you all posted. I definitely don't think she should drive a school bus.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's not how I read this, meowbunny. This is a concern for all kids, but it's very hard to take action if you can't demonstrate a strong personal involvement.

    And when it's YOUR kid, it's easier to feel determined enough to take more risks in getting the situation fixed.

    I'm in a situation at the moment, where I want to kick off another campaign over lack of appropriate support services in our high schools, but because I do not have a child currently dealing with this, I am not allowed to comment. I could only support another parent, IF that parent invites me to. Very frustrating, when so many people are scared to take action or lay complaints, for fear of themselves or their children being victimised.

    Good luck with this one, keep us posted on how you go.

    You're doing what I would do, in the same circumstances.

  6. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Sorry, that implies that once this woman is removed from this route, it will end. It shouldn't end. I do understand how difficult it is to go public about something like this and I do understand it is a she said/she said thing but it sounds like the local station is willing to air it regardless. However, if you're willing to go to bat if nothing is done about your son's route, then you should be willing to go bat for all of the children. Just because other parents don't care or don't see the danger doesn't mean there is no harm being done.
  7. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! I've been following this since it started and you are doing a great job MWM. At the beginning MWM was really afraid of losing her job and ending up with her son and the other kids without ANYONE on the route watching the behavior of this woman.

    Keep in mind that it's da*n near impossible to fight for other kids anymore. While the privacy laws were definately put in place to protect our kids, MWM is subject to them as an employee. If she "oversteps" too far, she could be violating some childs right to privacy. She can only speak on behalf of her son and any improprieties that she has witnessed toward the individual kids.

    Unfortunately, she's trapped between two HUGE rocks: that of being a Warrior Mom and a dedicated employee. By taking the steps that she's taken in prior posts, she's got my vote as "Tightrope Walker of the Year"! :scared:

    I have to say MWM, you've come a long way with this endeavor and you've really got a lot to be proud of!

  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks NVTS :wink: I quit so I could pursue getting her sorry butt off the route. And it's not just for MY son, however if other moms are apathetic, I can't help them. I can only pass the info along to the right people (and I am) and hope other parents take it seriously. Right now I am on a mission to get this crazed racist nutcase off my son's route. But I've also told important people what I've told you--the wheelchairs, the belting the abdomen etc. I hope she is canned. She shouldn't be working with kids, period. Although I know this can't be a consideration, the woman had two wacky husbands who both beat her and her kids. Rather than fighting in court to keep husband #1 who hurt one of her sons so badly that he is now brain damaged out of her kids lives, she let them visit him because she wanted the child support. She still gets it. She has had various abusive men in the house, and all her kids are messes. Her grown daughter has an abusive SO and they lost custody of their child (lucky for the child, in my opinion). I know I can't use that against her, but it makes me nervous.
    I'm waiting now to see if they replaced her or if they're sticking it to me and sending her again. If they send her, I'm driving him to school, but I'm going to complain that they have to pay my mileage. Gas is expensive and I shouldn't have to worry about the bus driver. There is no other bus that takes the special needs kids from our town to the next town so that they can get to their school.
  9. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    I know I was away for a while but I didn't see that you had quit!


    I wish I could see their faces when you "knock 'em down"!!!

    Sorry that you had to leave the job, but you were getting to the point where it was so nerve wracking that I don't think you were enjoying it anymore!

    I wish I could be there to help you out, but I've got my hands full with the NYC Dept. of Ed right now!

    Let us know what happens!

  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    As a lifelong advocate, I congratulate you. Your mission is an
    appropriate one for sure. Best of luck.

    by the way, I don't know if you are experienced at public speaking or not, but I found it best to preplan what I would say and not let
    emotion lead me off track. One time :nonono: I "lost" a large
    audience by spontaneously throwing in an emotional sentence. It
    was a lesson.

    You're a Warrior Mom and I know you'll do well. Hugs. DDD
  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    You're blowing the whistle on this crazy woman is perfectly sane and normal and well within the bounds of protecting your child.

    Personally, the only thing I would do different is garner some strength by contacting other parents of kids on the bus and hearing if they have any complaints as well as filling them in on what you've witnessed and experienced.

    You're only ONE parent. With other parents backing you up and with complaints of their own, you're MANY, and in numbers there is [more] strength.

    You go, mom!
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Well, I think you are doing what you can. I agree that it would be better if you were comfortable seeing this through regardless of whether it impacts your children or others, but if you can't, you can't.

    on the other hand, I cannot emphasize strongly enough that you should not under any circumstances go to any other parents house and tell them what is going on. While truth is a total defense against slander/libel, when it is as you say "your word against hers", you might not win out on that. Tell the newspaper and/or the tv people about your concerns, and they talk to other parents about what they know or don't know and how they feel about it. That is a total protection to you.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I don't think you are over reacting at all - HOWEVER -

    History tells me to tell you - call a civil rights attorney that will handle this for you pro bono.

    I'm not sure but this could get huge - and you need to have your ducks in a row.

    GO GET EM! :warrior: Mom!

    I'm really proud of you and anyone that stands up for our kids!
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You're getting some good advice here. From what you've said in other posts about this, I know you are concerned for the other kids too, and will do what you can with them in mind also. But I do agree, you need to do this RIGHT. Witz is correct, you can't go up to other parents and tell them that there is a crazy racist bus driver on the route; but if one of the other parents expresses concerns to you, you should be able to then share your own concerns - but be careful, check. Star's advice on getting some pro bono legal advice is good. There should be a number of civil rights groups who could help you there.

    Remember, when the media coverage comes out, other parents on the route will want more information. Are you going to make yourself available to them? There may be some who do not want you to make waves because they would rather have a faulty service than none at all. Or maybe they are just as racist and only see it as a similar-minded person being persecuted by thought police. You need to be prepared for this and be ready to handle it sensitively.
    DO you want other parents to be able to contact you? They WILL try to contact the reporter, who can vet the calls. Or if you have legal representation, that can be a route. I've sometimes taken the risk and given my name for contact - I had to be prepared to get busy and take notes of everyone who contacted me, to be able to get back to them with any news. My recent campaign for a local Special Education class is one example. I actually set up a data base of the families contacting me (after asking their permission for them to be on my data base) and used it to send out regular emails giving them progress reports.
    If other parents have similar horror stories and you have already made contact with legal representation to deal with this topic, then this could strengthen the case. So take notes and ask their permission to be contacted further by you, the reporter or the legal eagle. Do not nag if they do not want to talk to anyone but you - respect that. Although it can get VERY frustrating. But it does show you how scared people are, of speaking up.

    DDD also had a valuable suggestion - plan what to say. And after the interview, do not beat yourself up over forgetting something. After any coverage is aired, you will also feel disappointed that they left out important stuff - because what WE see as important is not always what a news editor sees as attention-grabbing. I've done interviews where I had the news team in my home for three hours, and the coverage was 30 seconds.

    Now, to plan what to say - do you know the technique of clustering? It's also known as mind-mapping, it's an Edward de Bono thing. I recommend it to EVERYBODY. It's a technique that also got difficult child 1 through every writing task at school (he has serious short-term memory problems that prevent him holding a sequence of thoughts in his head). I wish I had known this when I was at school. It's the fastest, most effective way to organise your thoughts. And especially with your memory problems, this is a brilliant way of adapting.

    You start with a blank sheet of paper. Think of what your topic is about. In this case, "inappropriate bus driver behaviour". Put that fairly centrally on the page, since it IS the major concern. You then write down (wherever you feel it should go - you're in charge of this) the main concerns. "racist remarks"; "not belting kids in the right way"; attitude"; and so on. Any of these may be added to also, with a bit more detail. You then connect ideas and issues by drawing lines between them, so it ends up looking like a tree. Where several ideas connect to several other ideas each, it can even look like a net - and simply seeing this connectedness can give you a broader insight to the problem. A problem that is highly interconnected is often a tricky one to fix, because wherever you turn you find another connection needing to be severed (as in the boss giving this woman the sack - there could be other connected issues you haven't yet noticed, until you mind-map).

    A mind map can help with essay writing too, as it keeps the writer on task with the issues. When you're talking to the media, it is equally important to stay on task and not let your own side issues distract you. Also it's common for people on the defensive to try to distract you from your aim - a mind map in front of you will limit the chance of this succeeding.

    I'm trying to find a link for you that can help. Here is one, which has an example of a mind map as it's logo (or something). Ignore the rest of the advertising.
    Actually, I just read this a bit more - this bloke claims HE invented tis, not Edward de Bono. Don't care - whoever gets the credit, it's darn good. There is more info on this site about how this works, go look at it and practice the technique. I remember difficult child 1's first writing task where he used this - he had to write a story for school, about what it would be like to live on a farm, what his day would be like. and it worked brilliantly! With this, he was able to do on his own, in half an hour, what days of badgering and constant support by both parents would not have achieved as well. And he was so happy with himself!

    I've since passed this technique on to friends at Toastmasters, among other places. Very effective!

    Good luck with the campaign, batten down the hatches.

  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think this is going to get "big." I don't even think I can win, but I'm trying.
    Today I visited the principal (and in our tiny community she has clout) to tell HER what is going on and she was VERY attentive. She said nothing would happen today (and it didn't), but that she would have the Superintendent talk to the bus company. I guess part of this depends on what the contract says. I'm not sure that the school can force the bus company to change drivers. I'm confused about that. If anyone knows more, tell me (I live in Wisconsin). I am seriously nuts thinking of her with my son and all the other kids too and I told the principal ALL the gory details about this woman and she seemed very attentive.
    The television station and newspaper did not call me back today. Nobody did, although the principal had said she would, so it's another day. Oh, I did call CPS, but they said that her racial slurs and the details I gave her about driver weren't child I mean, if my next door neighbor calls and tells them that my child's hands are dirty, they investigate, but telling CPS about the driver isn't abuse/neglect. "The bar is rather high," she said. I got off the phone and laughed. REAL high--we all know how So they're out. As for other parents, I don't know most of them. And no attorney will take this case pro bono. I can't even get an attorney that interested in it. If I can't get anywhere, my next move is to insist that the school send my son to school by cab and pay for it. There seems to be a lot more politics to this than I thought.
  16. ML

    ML Guest

    You're a great mom! It's sad that anyone would treat innocent children that way. I'm really glad that you are fighting this and have no doubt you will win! MicheleL