Tales from the Bus Stop: Chapter 2, Patrols

Everyone,

At Butterfly’s bus stop there are older kids that wear bright yellow seat belts from shoulder to hip and they are called patrols.  I assume they are there to enforce the rules of the bus stop.  They also help the kids on and off the bus at the end of the day.

According to Butterfly’s school website, they have a list of 14 rules they should follow while they are “patrolling”.  Rule #13 is “The Three Main Functions of a Safety Patrol Are To: Instruct, Direct, and Control.”

We’ve been at the bus stop every school day for a month now, and here are a few observations I have of the patrols and their main functions.

Like I mentioned in my last Bus Stop Tales chapter, I let my kids run around the grassy area next to the corner where the bus picks the kids up.  One of the streets is a very busy street so I like to keep my kids down in the neighborhood.  Our neighborhood is a town house neighborhood and we share all the grassy areas in common.  As in, no one owns them and the Home Owners Association pays for the upkeep.  Although I think everyone considers the grassy areas around their house to be “theirs” but if someone set up a tent in “their” area, nothing could be done about it.

My kids run in the grassy area right in front of 2 houses.  There is an old stump surrounded by paving stones that they like to stand on and hop off of.

I was watching Butterfly run with her friends and turned to find the boys.  They were both standing on the stump.  They had 2 girl patrols and a whole gaggle of girls surrounding them.  I saw the patrols talking to them.  Pirate left soon after, his shoulders slumped and crying.

“What happened?” I asked him when he got to me.  He didn’t answer so I looked up at the girl patrols and the gaggle of girls following them.

“Can you tell them not to climb on that stump?  It’s private property!”

Now I must commend the girl for following rule number 5: Perform your patrol duties faithfully.

But it is NOT private property.  It is common ground.  I told her that.

“They could get hurt!”

And polietly as I could (because she got my inner mama bear up), I said, “Let me worry about if they will or won’t get hurt.  You just worry about your school mates, okay?”

—————–

The boys and I were headed home after Butterfly’s bus left.  I would say about a quarter of the kids were still waiting on the second bus.  Yes, we have 2 buses that pick up at our spot.  Butterfly’s bus is for the K-3rd graders.  The big kid bus is for the 4th and 5th graders.

We weaved through a few kids on our way down the hill to our house.  My boys’ natural gait is set on “run full tilt” so I was hustling to catch them before we had to cross a neighborhood street.  Professor had a stick in one hand and a huge smile on his face.

That smile left when we walked past a group of boys sitting on the stairs a ways away from the bus stop.   A very big boy patrol almost jumped in front of him and said, “Hey! Stop running!  Walk!”

And Professor burst into tears.  I would have done the same because that boy was really very startling!

I scooped Professor up and said, “You let me worry about him.  You worry about your classmates.”  I started off down the sidewalk to where Pirate had stopped at the street.  (Good boy!)

The patrol look at me and said, “Well he could get hurt with that stick in his hand!” in a very injured voice.

I turned to look at him and said, “He’s MY kid.  He’s MY responsibility.  You worry about your OWN responsibilities and your OWN classmates.  Like the boys that are ganging up on the boy over there.  You leave MY kid alone.”

Harsh?  Probably.  But I think he was ignoring rule #10- Remind schoolmates of safe walking rules without being “bossy”.

I would add to that, without being whiny, rude, or pushy.

One thing I noticed in both of these stories, and actually in the first chapter of the Bus Stop Tales, is the overwhelming fear that something COULD happen.  We seem to shy away from risk of ANY kind.  All those people who sue others over the tiniest things have made the upcoming generation overly cautious and anxious.

Boy are they going to make fun adults!

Safire

 

Tales from the Bus Stop: Chapter 1

Everyone,

My goal for this school year for myself is to get Butterfly on time to school.  Every day.  Last year, I am ashamed to say that she was late 3-6 days out of the month.  Every month.  And I could never figure it out!  I swear I got her to school by 9:25 am when it started!

Reading this year’s paperwork they sent home, school starts at 9:15 am.

Oops.

With Butterfly riding the bus this year, we will hopefully meet that goal!  In order for her to be on the bus and us not running to the car in the morning, we leave for the bus stop 10 minutes before we’re supposed to get there.  Because with all these little kids, you never know how long a short walk up the block will take.

Today, we were the second ones there and set my kids loose to run in the grass nearby.  They were playing claw (it’s like tag but “scarier!”) and having a ball.  I figured they were moving and getting all of Butterfly’s wiggles out before school started.  And I didn’t have to answer the twin chorus of “why?” for a good 10 minutes.  Win/win!

More kids showed up to the bus stop.  They lined up nicely on the side walk.  And watched.  My kids screamed, ran, cried (“it’s too scary Mommy!”), and were general hooligans.  I could see several of the kids bouncing on the balls of their feet with their heads following the path my trio was making.

One girl from Butterfly’s class last year joined Butterfly in running around.  That seemed to break the dam and they had a rousing game of Claw going in about 2 minutes.  It was a screaming mass of kids and I was enjoying watching them run!

Three minutes in, a mom started screaming at her girls (she has 3) to get back on the sidewalk.  They were in the middle of the pack and didn’t hear her.  She marched herself down there and physically yanked all three girls out of the pack and lined them up on the side walk.  On the way past me, she said to the oldest girl “It’s wet and you will fall!  If any of your sisters fall and hurt themselves, I’m holding you responsible!”

I’ve been thinking about this all day.  It would not be this oldest girl’s fault.  Yes, the grass was wet.  Yes, kids did fall and hurt themselves.  (okay, just Pirate) But I didn’t see any harm in the kids running before school.  This mom started the trend and gradually, the kids with parents were pulled back into line.

Are we so afraid for kids to hurt themselves that we limit what they can and can’t do?  Are we afraid of blood, sweat, tears, and some skinned knees?  I see a huge trend in child raising here that you keep kids inside and controlled at all times.  I don’t like that.  I love to see my kids running and screaming and I let them do it as much as possible.  (Just ask my parents after a fun 2 weeks of that!)

Or maybe I just can’t control my children.

Either way, I’m okay with it.

Safire

PS- I’m sure I will have lots of stories about the bus stop in the years to come.  So welcome to a new series!