Life is Quite a Ride

For those who may not know it, a few years ago I started driving a school bus so I could easily go to my kids’ sports activities which happened to be scattered across the state and in some cases contiguous states. Despite the fact my children are no longer in high school, somehow I’m still driving. Actually, it’s quite easy to explain. I became very attached to the kids who ride my bus route. I live in a rural area, and most of the kids live “out of town” and have to ride a long time to get to and from school. Some of them up to two hours each way. Many of these students have been riding with me for years and have now spent much more time with me than they have any of their teachers. For the most part, we have had a wonderful time, and I have some fond memories of my time as a bus driver.

Of course there is the occasional misbehavior by some of the kids, but I usually deal with it and move on pretty quickly. Not so for the last day or so when I had an incident on my bus that could have been disastrous. A kid brought a shotgun shell on the bus. Then he and another boy were messing with it, and they managed to make it go off. Miraculously, no one was hurt. The boys are both in elementary school, and one of them is in serious need of some discipline. He’s the one who brought the shell. He’s also become quite the liar. Let me be plain. He’s become a bold faced liar, and it is painful for me to even process that since he’s so young and yet already heading down such a dangerous path. I’ve been patient with him because I consider he has a very bad home situation. But the incident with the shell has me livid at what he could have done to himself and others.

Since two boys are involved in this, that means two sets of parents to deal with. One set is great. I’ve spoken to them, the principal has spoken to them, and they accept that their son messed up. I’m confident they will make a believer out of him, as it were. The other set of parents I have not spoken to yet but the principal has. I’m about to get the call to tell me what’s happening. Here’s what I know about this second set of parents. Everything is someone else’s fault no matter the situation. Their kid is never wrong. Guess which boy has these parents.

Is there any wonder why some kids are little shits? Parents like this boy certainly facilitate it, and they make me ill at times. They posture as if they care, but really, they don’t. They don’t care enough to discipline their kid for his own good. They are the parents who want to be their kid’s friend, and that means the kid’s well being will be sacrificed to how these parents feel about themselves, which means they would never dream of giving this kid consequences.

Of course I’m probably a throwback in how I see discipline because quite frankly, if a kid needs an ass busting, he ought to have one. This kid will get little or nothing done to get his attention. The parents will feel sorry for him that he’s in trouble with the school. Are you ill yet at this scenario I’m describing? I could go on about the willful and selfish blindness of these parents, but I’ll stop. For the record, my kids did get their asses busted when it was warranted, but that didn’t happen often because they were taught early to take responsibility for something they had done, and they realized they didn’t want the negative consequences of their actions.

That’s the end of my rant. I’m not sure when I will be done being pissed off about this. What does help mitigate my anger is my gratitude that no one was hurt.

Here’s a picture of a bus like mine:



  1. I feel your pain. I am a teacher and have to deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly too. The ‘friend’ parent will be visiting their kid in jail someday if the police don’t take him out first.
    This is so sad.
    My parents gave me the belt when I deserved it and I turned out OK. I spanked my kids when they deserved it and guess what; they don’t hate me and they all are hard working contributing members of society.

  2. Well, if a kid needs his ass busted, oblige him. You do not do a child any favors by not ass busting,if it is warranted.

  3. Honey,if my kids acted the way the boys you described did, they’d have their asses handed to them on a platter! I’ve told them I better not hear from anybody that they’ve been acting like a fool. They get in trouble at school, I’ll know before they ever get home (thank God we live in a small town, with a small school system). And I’ve told them they better be not only concerned aout what punishment their teacher/principle/whoever is gonna dish out but about what kind of trouble they’re gonna be into when I get hold of them.

  4. That said, the last whipping I got (with a peachtree switch) I was probably 7. Mama finally decided she couldn’t beat sense into me. Taking away privileges, though, she found worked wonders, as did piling on more chores. (I grew up on a farm, where we *all* worked – I drove a tractor in the tobacco fields when I was around 4 or 5.). With my boys, they get to lose computers, iPads, the XBox, internet access, and so forth. And I add to their chores, too. Works for us.

  5. Well, the parents acted exactly as I thought they would — blaming the whole thing on the other boy. What makes this worse is that these parents are prominent and have a lot more money than the other kid’s parents, and the school principal feels intimidated by them and may go along with the notion the other boy is more at fault. Once again, this little shit is getting way with something. At this rate, I shudder to think what he will do as he gets older.

    If this is not resolved fairly, I have a little prominence of my own and may have to use it. I have never done that, but in this case, it’s warranted.

  6. Anon @ 1:35,

    I got it too when I needed it. LOL! Oddly enough I’m not a violent person at all and am considered a productive member of society.

    When I was a kid, I remember my dad saying he was my dad first and friend second. As I got older and more mature, he was definitely my friend, but I never forgot that he loved me enough to risk my dislike when I was immature and didn’t know better.

  7. Anon @ 4:48

    More like the parents doing themselves a favor. I know that’s not the case for every parent who doesn’t exact corporal punishment. There may be some (very rare in my opinion) who have the wisdom AND the biddable kids to pull off no spanking.

  8. I agree that spanking is not a panacea. We actually didn’t spank our kids very often at all. One of my kids only got spanked once. One got spanked twice. The other two had a few more, and one in particular had quite a few. She was my hard head. Timeout did not work with her. Taking things away did not work for her. She had the attitude, “Bring on the timeout; I can handle it.” But get out a paddle, and she was singing another tune. She laughs about this now that she’s grown, and she’s thanked us for making her walk a straight line because she knows she would have done something harmful if we hadn’t kept her on a good course. Today, she is a go getter but has some sense in how to handle her assertiveness.

    As for this problem child on the bus, he has been with me for years, and I have a definite soft spot for this kid. He is one of my favorites, but his parents have issues, and now the kid is having issues, and the parents are not really going to deal with this. And it’s only going to get worse.

  9. I want to make it clear that this problem child doesn’t just need his ass busted. He needs parents who talk to him and listen to him and teach him some wisdom in how to act, who basically pay enough attention to him that when they do have to mete out some tough punishment, the kid will respond well.

  10. This is a case of the kid is the parent and the parent is the child. I work in our school system and this seems to be a all to true these days. I am not my son’s friend, I am there mom. They will thank me later, but I don’t think they mind.

  11. Is there any chance this kid might respond to some tough talk from bus lady sort-of-teacher/mentor: “Your parents aren’t getting it, but I know you know you’re behaving like a shit and that other kid isn’t as responsible as you’re making it seem. You might get away with it this time, but you won’t for your whole life, and it will be less painful in the end if you start owning up to your shittyness now rather than later. Want to start acting like a grownup right now with this incident rather than when you’re older and you might end up in jail when your tricks don’t work?”

    Take a lesson from my father who had a very effective manner of dictating behavior with low-voiced, privately delivered, threatening commands. My 60-something cousin who was a “hippie” in his youth recently told my sisters how our father intimidated him when he (the cousin) was a teenager. My father told him “If I ever find you introducing my daughters to those funny cigarettes, I will call the cops and sit on you until they arrive to arrest you.” This was from a man who, by the way, was no bigger than the cousin — about 5 foot 5 inches tall and weighing maybe 150 pounds. The cousin was intimidated enough that he didn’t repeat the story until 45 years later when my father was safely dead!

  12. I don’t think there is ever any excuse for hitting a child. Or an adult or an animal for that matter. I don’t agree that only people with very compliant children can get away with no smacking either. I work with both perpetrators and victims of domestic and family violence and one of the biggest hurdles is getting them both to understand that there is NEVER any justification for abuse. No one ever deserves that and I’m pretty sick of hearing the old chestnut of “it never did me any harm” as well.

    As for this child, I agree with Armitagebesotted – someone needs to have a stern word with him and there need to be be external consequences if the parents won’t punish him. Could he be banned from the bus? This would be an inconvenience for the parents and show the kid that if he behaves badly and refuses to own up to it he gets excluded.

  13. I don’t intend for this post to become a debate on corporal punishment, so I hope you understand and respectfully, we will have to agree to disagree on the definition of abuse

  14. The kids without consequences and boundaries are the ones who grow up to be sefish, remorseless criminals. You are to be commended for being a steady presence in these kids’ lives.

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