Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Bus

Here's Morgan's bus coming down the road to drop her off at home the first day! Little did we know it would be the beginning of a fiasco that has still not been resolved. We decided at the end of the school year last year that Morgan would take the bus when school started again in September. Her AIM program goes from 9:30 am - 1:30 pm. The pick-up time would be right in the middle of Piper's nap time. I'm not ready to have her give up her nap... so the bus it was! The teachers assured me that the kids love it, so I thought we'd give it a try.

A few days before school started I received calls from the morning and afternoon bus drivers, letting me know when she would be picked up and dropped off each day. I took Morgan to school on her first day, but she was scheduled  for her first bus ride home that afternoon. The morning driver asked me if there was a turnaround on our street, as it is a dead end. I told her there is one between the last two houses on the left side. When our development went in, this turnaround was mandated by the city until it was know whether the street would eventually continue through (to date, the owner will not sell the land). Garbage trucks and delivery vehicles turn around in this spot weekly. I watched as this bus driver turned around with no issues and pulled up in front of our house.

So...when I walked up to meet Morgan the driver said, "Oh no, my "Boss" isn't going to like that." You are going to have to meet us at xxxx and yyyyy cross-streets two blocks away. I questioned this and she said she would have her Boss look at it. Later that day the morning driver called and said she'd talked to the afternoon driver and that the turnaround "was too short," so we'd have to meet her at the spot two blocks away. I then asked for the Boss's phone number, which she gave me. It was late in the afternoon so when no one answered I left a message.

In the meantime, Morgan did okay on the bus her first time. They said she cried some and didn't want to get on, but they assured her they were taking her to "see Mommy" and she eventually got on and did well on the ride home. It was a hot day and she was a little flushed, but seemed to be happy. She mentioned later that she wanted to go on the school bus again, so that was encouraging.

Then next morning the "Boss" called around 7:30 am. He talked about "policy this" and "policy that." I still pushed back saying the turnaround was approved by the city and the garbage trucks and UPS trucks used it frequently with no issues. I then asked, aren't special needs children guaranteed to be picked up at their homes? He then asked if she had a "transportation IEP", which I don't know if this is different that a regular IEP, which she has. Anyway, I asked if there was anyone else we could speak with and he said he'd call back. He called back shortly and said no one else was in the office. To date, we have not had a call back.

With no resolution I had to take Morgan the few blocks away to meet the bus. The driver said she'd be there at 8:25 am and when she called at 8:20, asking where Morgan was I was a little annoyed. Sweet Morgan (with Piper in her stroller) protested all the way down the street saying "I want to go in Mama's car, open the garage!" and "I want Mama to go on the bus too!" I felt just awful, like I was the worst Mom ever putting my three year-old on this bus to school. The driver and bus aide were really sweet, saying they were taking her to school and they'd have a great time!! She seemed to be OK after that. I set her up with her granola bar for the ride. Then I walked Piper home and started crying. I called her teacher just blubbering. She was so sweet and promised to call when Morgan got there. She called about 15 minutes after Morgan arrived and reported that she got off the bus happy and they'd asked her if she liked it and she said "yes." Though...Morgan says yes to a lot of  things that I'm not sure she really means yes. Hmmm. I do think this is an adjustment in routine for her. Once she knows it's part of her school routine she'll be fine with it.

When I went out to pick her up that afternoon (stinking hot, by the way!)... I took Piper's monitor with me which worked almost the whole two blocks. Morgan was very happy to see me when she hopped down the steps and walked home asking for her favorite TV show of the moment. I had also sent some water with her this time, so she seemed less hot and sweaty this time. I asked her a few questions about her day and got more information out of her than I did last year! Good progress! She told me some of the other kids' names, which included a few kids from her class last year... whom I don't think are actually in her class this year, but their classroom is close by. But there were new kids' names too. I asked her what she had for breakfast (cereal) and lunch (pizza). I asked her if she ate the pizza, because she doesn't at home, and she said she "licked" it. Huh? That's a whole other story. At first I thought I didn't hear it right, but found out later that's what actually happened. More on that later...

So, heading into Monday David is going to take over the call to the Boss, and if needed, the Superintendent's office...or whatever we need to do to get this resolved. More soon.

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