Thursday, December 8, 2011
I wonder how many hours I've spent over the last 15 years working on school transportation issues for my kids? I'm sure it would be a large number. Just earlier this year, working through one, what seemed like a relatively simple transportation issue, involved 6 people from the school district and resulted in 62 emails before the issue was resolved.
And here we go again...
Ronnie will be 17 years old in a month. He is a junior in high school. He rides what my school district lovingly calls "special transportation" only because he uses a wheelchair and cannot be accommodated on "regular transportation."
Kids that ride regular transportation usually have to walk a block or two to catch the school bus in the morning and then to return home in the afternoon. There is no door-to-door regular transportation. The doors of the regular transportation busses open up, the kids exit, and once they are out of the street, the bus driver goes on his/her merry way. Of course, the parents of elementary age students often wait at the bus stop for their children, but middle and high school students find their own way home every day.
So, when Ronnie and I decided that it would be ok for him to exit his bus, door-to-door transportation because it is "special" and not "regular", and find his way to the end of the driveway and up our ramp into the house, we didn't expect any problems from the bus driver or aide. He needs no assistance pushing his chair, and he had never once forgotten where the ramp and the door are. In fact, during the summer, he actually goes half a block, BY HIMSELF, to our neighborhood pool.
But apparently we were wrong. The bus driver refused to leave the street in front of our home until she 'saw' me or my oldest son there.
I tried explaining that this level of independence was something Ronnie would need as he transitioned from school to the work force. I tried explaining that he was perfectly capable of getting himself into the house. I even explained that someone was always at home waiting for him, but we wanted him to get used to being more self-sufficient. But to no avail...
This seems a touch discriminatory to me. Students without physical disabilities do not need parental escorts into the house at the end of each school day. So why should Ronnie?
Want to take any bets on how many emails it will take to resolve this issue???