As the mother of a kindergartener who stands at the bus stop each and every morning, I can definitely say it’s very important to stand at the bus stop with a kindergartener. I’ve witnessed firsthand the mistakes young kids make when attempting to get on the bus, and I also corresponded for a short time with the mother of a kindergartener who was killed by his bus.
Parents should never assume their child is completely safe because an experienced bus driver is in control of the bus. The following information provides details of what my friend and I deal with each and every morning while standing with our three kids as well as our experience with keeping an eye on the kids of those who don’t think it’s important to stand with their kids at the bus stop. After reading this article I guarantee you’ll never again question whether or not you should stand at the bus stop with your kindergartener.
My friend Dawn has two children, neither of which are in kindergarten, and besides my child, two other kindergarteners from two different families stand on the bus stop with us. The little girl is watched by her sister who might be in third or fourth grade, and the little boy has no one and seems sorely neglected.
As the bus arrives, all of the kids want to be first to enter, and they all rush toward the doors. Many times my friend and I have stopped the kids from running to the bus before it completely stopped, and I can’t imagine how the kids would behave if it weren’t for the two of us standing on the corner each and ever morning. Dawn has made her son go to the back of the line as a result of stepping off the curb and rushing toward the bus before it has completely stopped, and although we try to keep on the others, they’re basically on their own.
Stand Back From the Curb
My friend and I decided to make the kids wait near the sidewalk instead of at the curb as they had been, and we thought this would stop the problem of the kids trying to rush toward the doors. As winter arrives the pavement is becoming slick, and it’s really not safe to stand close to where the bus stops. Although we’re mainly out at the bus stop to protect our kids, as caring human beings we also watch over the others.
This morning we told the parentless kindergartener to come back by us and away from the curb. As he stood with his coat wide open in the frosty 20 degree air, he boldly told my friend, “I don’t have to listen to you. You’re not my mother!” I spoke up and said we didn’t want to see him get crushed by the bus should he slip off the curb. He didn’t listen and glared at us. I felt like telling the bus driver so his parents could be contacted – if they would even care. Obviously the parents of this kindergartener are very negligent anyway because they rely on my friend, myself, and the bus driver to make sure he gets on safely.
Wait for Me!
The same kindergartener who all but told my friend and I where to go when we were concerned for his safety is most always late. He runs out of the building at the very last second, and if it weren’t for the concentration of the driver, this kindergartener could easily get hit. He runs in front of the bus near the grille and then steps around the arm that is supposed to keep kids from getting too close. He’s made both of us very nervous on more than one occasion, and I’m thinking he must have a special guardian angel.
The same kindergartener without an attentive parent came out one morning when school for kindergarteners wasn’t even in session. Even though my kindergartener wasn’t going that day, I came out to the stop to visit with my friend. We told this kindergartener he didn’t have school, and he promptly ran home. This lent credence to the fact that this child is pretty much on his own.
A Tragic Mistake
Many years ago, completely by chance, I stumbled upon the website of a grieving mother. Her precious little boy, a kindergartener, was run over by his own school bus right in front of her eyes. He wanted to be a big boy and get off the bus without his mom standing at the stop in front of his home. His mom had been with him at the stop in front of their home, each and every time, until that fateful day.
As the mother of the kindergartener was on the phone looking out the window, she watched as the bus started to roll as he began to cross in front. She knew he didn’t have time to get by, and there was nothing she could do to stop the driver. He was hit and ran over as she looked out the window in horror.
Her friend advised her not to go outside and to let the paramedics take care of her son. At first she couldn’t understand why they were completely covering his small body with a sheet, and then reality sank in. She dropped to her knees unable to do anything but scream and cry in agony. He was killed instantly, and the story of this little boy was forever engrained in my mind.
All school bus drivers, even experienced drivers, can make mistakes. That day in particular, the bus driver had an unapproved guest on the bus, and they created a distraction. After she stopped, a child got on the bus, and the boy who got off wasn’t noticed – until hit was too late. A tragic accident such as this can happen to anyone.
By all means, go out with your kindergartener and wait on the bus stop. The mother of the little boy on my child’s bus stop is taking a very risky chance by letting her child go out alone, especially at the very last second. I believe it should be mandatory for the caregivers of kindergarteners to be on the bus stop each and every time. No matter how many times kindergarteners are told to be careful, and no matter how many lessons in safety are taught, tragic accidents can happen. Don’t let it happen to your kindergartener!