Every so often, the Monster’s bus is seriously late picking him up.
Most of the time, the bus is here within about ten minutes on either side of their designated pick-up/drop-off times, which I think is fairly normal. Traffic varies day by day, accidents along the route, how fast parents can get their kids on the bus… and never mind that the children on this bus are, as far as I know, all special-needs.
So most of the time, I’m very reasonable, even when it gets to fifteen or so minutes instead. I just want to be sure that the Monster’s getting to school in time for his classes.
About twice a month, the bus is sufficiently late to be outside this window. When it gets to twenty minutes late or more, I usually fire off an email to the school transportation director to complain. Sometimes I get a response, sometimes I don’t.
Today was very bad weather – we had freezing rain and sleet overnight, and the roads were sufficiently icy that they delayed school by two hours. (We had the same situation last week, in fact, with snow instead.) Normally, this also means the bus is going to be two hours behind schedule (arriving around 10:20 AM for a 11 AM school start). Instead, by 10:45, there was still no sign of the bus, and we started calling. The wife has the cellphone for the aide on the bus – no answer. She called Durham Bus Services (the contractor) and was on hold. I called the city public schools… and was promptly told that we need to call Durham, that it’s not their job to find out where the bus is.
Really? Durham is their contractor, and it’s my job to find out where the bus is?
No. No, it’s not.
The problem is that I’m not being unreasonable – my issue is not trying to stick to my son’s schedule as part of his Autism. My problem is that when they’re late to school, he misses out on his class and exercises that help him to catch up with NT kids. It’s one thing wholly when the whole school district is delayed, and another when he’s the only one missing out because the bus is AWOL. And, bluntly, Durham doesn’t care what I think because I’m not the one paying them – the school is.
But, as they say, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Once a bus arrived (around 11:15), I emailed the CEO of schools and head of transportation to give voice to my complaints, and to explain that I am entirely, wholly reasonable… and that I want this fixed, if not just for the Monster’s sake, then for the other children’s sake as well.
Supposedly, they are scheduling a meeting with a representative of the bus company and the transportation department, so I can talk to them in person. My father has given me an interesting angle for how to push harder… and we’ll see where it goes.
Because this has to be fixed. For the Monster’s own good.