Bus Driver!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-29-2005
Bus Driver!
5
Fri, 06-23-2006 - 10:21pm

Hi everyone

I am a teacher for medically fragile kids aged 3-6, and we go to school year round. Due to wheelchairs and such, I have much closer contact with bus drivers than the average teacher probobly does. Several have gotten on my nerves in the past, but today was ecspecially heinous....

I have a student with MS who I discovered at loading time had a high fever. His parents speak Japanese, so I was in a hurry to get him on the bus and start phoning in my district to try to find a translator to call his parents. I took him to the bus driver and explained the situation. She began yelling in my face about taking a sick kid and wanted me to just call his parents. I stated that I could not, I needed to call a translator and was not even sure if I could find one with the regular ed gone for the summer. The screaming/bitching/moaning continued that she her aide and every kid on the bus would be sick. I then said something rather unprofessional and she stormed away. Maybe this is unfair but I felt unsympathetic since I have been coughed on, spit on, puked on and pooped on more times than I can count and have never really complained because its my job. I do not have the authority to call parents for pick up in my school, thats the nurses desicion. I also could not have the bus drive away without him, what if I could not get ahold of a translator? (I did, eventually) I am nervous about seeing the bus driver on Monday. We need to have some kind of relationship so I can get kids off the bus without a shouting match. What does everyone think would be the best approach? Should I apologize for my part in it and try to smooth things over? Does anyone see something I could have done differently? I'm thinking perhaps there was a better way to handle things but I was too stressed and harried at the time to think of it. Any advise would be appreciated.

Amy

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2000
In reply to: rodsmommy
Fri, 06-23-2006 - 10:40pm

I'd call the administrator and let him/her know what happened.

Sherry
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2000
In reply to: rodsmommy
Sat, 06-24-2006 - 10:35am

Well - why not hold the bus for 2 minutes and get the nurse out there to make the call?
That certainly would be less of a hold up for the bus and other children than to have to face a medical emergency on the road.

I can see the point that it is not the best idea to throw a medically fragile kid with a high fever onto a bus. High fevers are dangerous in anyone. They can lead to seizure, etc. What if the problem becomes worse while riding on the bus? It sounds like perhaps there is an aide to actually watch this kids on this bus, but in most situations the kid would not be watched at all as the driver is busy driving.

At any rate, it definitely points to the need to have some emergency policies and procedures in place. If you have kids there over the summer, needed services need to be there. Your panic over finding a translator and getting help for the child - can't you imagine how much worse it would be to get into an emergency situation on the road and not know if you could summon the help you need, or be able to contact and communicate with the parents?

Surely there is someone at the school who is ultimately responsible for staying with a child until parents can be contacted in an emergency? I definitely would talk to a school administrator and find out what should be done in a case like this. It seems to me just stick them on the bus and hope to contact parents is about last choice though. I mean, if they are going home anyway the parents are going to figure out they are arriving home sick. If the situation was serious enough to warrant a call home, it was probably serious enough to hold the child in the nurse's office.

I realize that leaves a whole other possibility of a mad staff member - the nurse or administrator that has to stay and deal with a sick child. But - that responsibility should really not fall to an untrained, low paid bus driver. THere are people trained and paid commensurately to deal with that responsibility. The teacher and the bus driver really are not.

So - - I guess my suggestion for the future is to find out policy before you need it again. And in the spur of the moment - - take the time to contact the nurse or administrator. I won't really take any more time than fighting with the bus driver in the long run, and will probably ensure better care for the child.

And - if your answer from administration is throw the kid on the bus so we don't have to deal with any issues at the end of the day because we want to get home - - honestly, consider if that is really the place for you to work.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-29-2005
In reply to: rodsmommy
Sat, 06-24-2006 - 11:50am

That somebody holding the child would be the nurse-and the nurse did not say to hold him so I proceeded onward. I agree that there should have been a contact policy in place for the summer. The familys translator did not inform me that she would be gone nor did she call to give me a number of another Japanese speaker in her absence. If that had happened I would have had the number at my fingertips and not had to play "phone tag" to find someone. After I discovered the translator was not there, I did not feel like I should hold the child indefinately while I tried to find someone. Also the decision to hold kids is not mine anyway.

The bus drivers and aides for our school district are trained in everything from suctioning, trache care, to seizures. They are bus drivers for medically fragile students so they are trained.

Finding another place to work is not reasonable at all. I am the sole breadwinner in my family with a SAHD and two small boys. I can not risk my tenure and our financial stability, (not to mention health insurance for my special needs child) because I disagree with some administrator. All in all it is an excellent school with an excellent reputation. This family in particular moved from Japan to here so their child could go to this school, and are the second Japanese family to do so. Thanks for the input

Amy

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-29-2005
In reply to: rodsmommy
Sat, 06-24-2006 - 11:55am

Thanks Sherry

It was my understanding that they could not refuse students unless they were vomiting or seizuring. As for illness, I had been told in the past that they could refuse to pick them up from home, but could not refuse to bring them back. In other words, you can't leave kids stranded at school.

The principal knows what happened, but did not give any advice one way or another while I was dealing with this. He tends to be very passive and avoid conflict. I guess you could call him a "hands off" principal.

Amy

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2004
In reply to: rodsmommy
Sat, 06-24-2006 - 12:37pm

I just wanted to add I'm sorry the bus driver was so difficult. We have problems with 2 out the 3 bus drivers for our ESE students. Most of the students are emotionally handicapped and can be hard to handle.


To me the main issue is not having a translator to call the parent. What should have been a simple phone call got complicated. The services provided to our students also slacks off in the summer. I'm there not there over the summer but when we go back I have to explain why to parents why their child is still enrolled in the wrong program and school.



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