Thursday, February 23, 2012
Missing Mr. Ralph
While my two oldest boys, Chip and Corey, were in high school, they had the same bus and same bus driver for all four years. The bus was on time 99% of the time, both for the pickup and dropoff in the afternoon.
For my two youngest children, Ashley and Ronnie, they are lucky if they have only four different bus drivers and busses each school year. There is no consistency from year to year, often from month to month, and that makes it really difficult for both the drivers and aides who need to know my children and the effect of their disabilities, as well as for my children, both of whom do best with a consistent routine. And having the bus arrive on time??? Almost never.
But I finally got lucky with Ashley’s transportation last November. After complaining about the greatly inconsistent schedules of her assigned bus, schedule problems which kept me from ever getting to work on time, Ashley was assigned a new bus and lo and behold, it was a bus driver that she knew!
Mr. Ralph was Ashley’s driver last year for some of the year. He understands her, and often comes up with great ideas on how to make the ride to school less stressful for her. He is always on time which means I make it to work on time. So everything was going great…..until Tuesday of this week.
Twenty five minutes after the allotted pickup time, Ashley’s bus finally shows up with a different driver. As Ashley starts back to her seat, I begin asking the driver to at least radio his dispatcher if he is going to be that late in the future and the dispatcher can call me. Tuesday morning we waiting outside in the sub-freezing temperatures for 30 minutes. The driver immediately went into defensive mode saying he was just a substitute driver. I asked again for a call to the dispatcher in the future, and he just rolled his eyes and turned away.
Wednesday morning the bus was only 10 minutes late, and yet another new driver was in charge. At least she said that she had radioed dispatch, but dispatch never called me. The driver seemed nice enough, but I asked when Mr. Ralph would be back. She said he wasn’t coming back because he had been transferred to another bus.
Deep and heavy sigh…..
Of course, when things are working well, let’s just mix them up again. That seems to be my school district’s philosophy. I completely understand that running transportation for a school district as large as mine is not an easy job. But it is a job that I assume the folks in the department are trained to do. Does it really have to be as difficult as it seems to be?
And why is it always the special education students who have to put up with the most changes? Special education students who do best when life is predictable and routine? Why can’t the bus transportation for my children receiving special education students be as good as it is for regular education students? Maybe, School District, you should try switching the managers of those two departments and see if it makes a difference….