Friday, July 23, 2010

School bus problems with our teens.

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Comment: Kay got back to me within hours and decisively answered my question. What a great volunteer and a great service!

Questioner: lisa Subject: school issues

Question: I have three kids (13, 11 and 6). This may sound petty, but it really isn't. Our town has three bus runs to get the kids to/from school. Next year there will be only two and they plan to put 1-4 together and 5-12 grades together. It is the latter I'm most concerned about.

The reason is there are some high schoolers who are at the bus stop being bullies, talking about visiting their friends in jail and all the trouble they get into. I caught one kid trying to break in to one of our cars when he first moved in. His mother did nothing about it.

There are just two really bad families involved. We don't have problems with the other kid and he in fact is over our house all the time. The problem is no matter what I do, I can't get the school to listen. I want a bus stop at my home. They go right by our driveway.

Other families have received extra stops and regardless how often I ask, I'm told they didn't receive my request, just have the kids at our driveway, etc. Then if I just have the kids at our driveway a new driver comes along and because it isn't listed as a stop on their list they won't pick up my kids. I've actually had one of these mothers drive toward my younger son as if to hit him.

I questioned this and he had a friend over who took the bus and they both said she was driving towards them. AFter that, I went out and made my presence known and she of course didn't do anything. As it was the end of the school year nothing further happened, but for some reason she hates my son. I can't believe the things she has said about him.

We actually live in a very nice neighborhood and own our home. She has rented her home for about 14 years and makes it clear to everyone she doesn't like anyone here. Her oldest son (one I'm concerned about) has caused trouble in the neighborhood. If anyone says anything, they find their house egged or things damaged right after. Since no one sees it is him, he gets away with it.

How can I get the school to listen? I've had issues in the past and they actually made things worse, by involving so many kids in the problem. My oldest son was bullied by the two kids on our street and the school asked many other kids on the bus if they saw/heard anything. All this did, was cause more harrassment on the bus for my son from kids who weren't even paying attention to what was really going on. It made my son out to be a baby.

My oldest is labeled LD and although he's made the honor roll more often than not, I know he has a tough time with kids. In three years at the middle school, I've only asked for their help three times and never have they really helped. He just keeps it all inside and he's clearly an unhappy kid. I just keep doing my best. My youngest son (11) is already concerned about being at a stop with these bullies. He's far more able to stick up for himself and has many friends, but an 11 year old with these kind of 17 and 18 year olds worries me.

Do you have any ideas how I can get the school to listen? I've been nice, fed up, to the point, name it. I will be working full time soon and don't have time to stand at a bus stop and lets face it, who wants their mother standing with them at the bus stop when they are middle and/or high school students?!! Yikes, what an embarrassment!!

Thanks so much for your time.

Answer: Dear Lisa, You have much to be concerned about. As for not being able to get the school to listen, you need to keep moving up until you are heard and make it loud and clear you intend to be heard no matter how far up the ladder you have to climb.

Your children cannot be replaced and you are their strongest advocate. There are many reasons why putting children between the school ages of 6-12 is a MAJOR concernt and if necessary then all precations to ensure their safety need to be taken. EVERY school as a Violence policy which they need to take action to prevent something from happening to a child especially if it has been brought to their attention and they have not taken appropriate action.

First sit down and create a journal of all the incidences you mentioned, jot the date, time, what happened, any other witnesses. (Just the facts, not what you think about these events). Then make notes as to who you spoke to at the school and what they said.

Keep this journal no matter what happens and do not stop or forget to log in any telephone call, letter, conversation or activity which relates to this issus. Then determine precisely what you need to make you feel your child is safe. If this is a stop in front of your house make that known right up front and let the person know you are prepared to do what it takes to achieve this and you will prevail.

If this conversation does not result in your gaining what you were looking for then next contact the school board and the superindent of school, the local city council, the local represenatives in your area, contact the governor's office, and finally call the Federal Department of Education.

If after all this you have not successfully achieved your goal, contact the local newspapers armed with your journal of the events and all the people you have contacted. Use the internet and put out emails to others who may have had similar experiences or just ask for their assistance in achieving your goal. You never know where these emails will end up.

Do a search on the internet and see what other parents have done in similar situations and what they did which achieved these results. Search on the internet and determine what the department of education is statuatorily required to provide for to make sure your children are safe.

Every school is regulated by the government make sure they are up to all of the reglatory requirements regarding the safety of your child. Your concerns are very valid. Children between the 5th grade and the 12th grade are on very different developmental levels, not to mention life experiences.

I know I have given you many suggestions however, you will most likely feel comfortable with some and not others and you need as many options as I can think of for you to succeed. Don't forget talking to an attorney may also bring a few more suggestions. Your children are lucky to have someone who cares enough to take action on their behalf.

Best wishes!

M Kay Keller

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