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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Open Letter to the School District Transportation Department

Update: The issue has been resolved and The Girl can now ride the bus with her older brother. I could take this letter down, but the fact that I even had to write it is the reason it is going to stay posted. If you want to read about The Girl's first day on the bus, click here.

To whom it concerns:

This morning you had someone call me to tell me that you had reviewed my request to allow my daughter in Kindergarten to ride the same bus as her brother, who is in Life Skills at the same school, and that it had been denied. Your rationale involved logistics. You cited that the bus for our neighborhood which stops a block from my house is coming approximately 10 minutes earlier than the bus for my son, which comes directly to my home. You said that is enough time.

I get it. You look at names on paper. You see dots on a map. You see coordinates on the GPS. You come to the logical conclusion that we can walk to the bus stop and be back at our house in time to meet the other bus. Unfortunately though, logic had nothing to do with my request.

What you don't see is that my son is developmentally a two-year-old even though the calendar says he's nine. You don't know he's still in diapers, and that the excitement of waiting for the busing the morning causes him to have a bowel movement at minutes before the bus arrives two to three times each week. You don't see me frantically trying to perform the worlds fastest diaper change so he doesn't have to sit in his own feces on the way to school.

You don't see his younger sister, who is beyond excited about being in the same school with her older brother this year. You don't see her disappointment each morning as the driver tells her she's still not on her route. You don't see that she is longing for a little piece of normal in her life, which includes riding the same bus to the same school as her brother, even if that bus isn't the one her friends are riding.

No, you want logistics, so here are my logistics. Picture me, walking my family down the block to wait at the bus stop. We get there, and during the wait, my son has a BM. We can't leave. Did I mention that once my son has a BM it's almost impossible to keep his hands away from it? The bus arrives, and my daughter gets on board. My son begins to scream and bang his head because I'm not letting him get on the bus. My daughter starts to cry too because she wants her brother to ride the bus with her. The children on the bus stare. They stare at him, then at her. They don't understand.

She leaves in tears, and we hurry home. I begin to change his diaper and realize when I let go of his hands for a moment to hug his sister, he grabbed at his bottom and caused the diaper to leak. He needs a complete change of clothes. The bus pulls up outside, and I open the door to yell to the driver that we'll just be a minute. I get him cleaned up and put him on the bus.

Did I mention that I also have a typical two-year-old to keep track of while all this is happening? He likes to run. It keeps things interesting.

So yes, I'm asking for special treatment. I'm asking for something to be just a little more convenient for me. I'm asking for a favor. I'm asking for you to move her name from one list to another. I'm asking for her to occupy an open seat on a bus that already stops at my house and drives to her school. I'm asking for a little compassion and a lot of common sense.

Is that too much to ask?


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