Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: JenJay on March 05, 2013, 04:47:33 PM

Title: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: JenJay on March 05, 2013, 04:47:33 PM
It's actually a busing issue but I don't have any contact info for them, so I thought the Principal would be the next best thing. I'm suffering from a head-cold and a moderate case of "Angry Momma Bear" right now so I thought I should run this by you all before I send it. Please edit as needed.


Mr. Principal,

I'm contacting your regarding the bus driver that subbed for UsualDriver on the afternoon of March 5th. I became concerned when my sons, DS11 and DS9, were more than 20 minutes late getting home after school. When I met them at the stop they explained that they had a new driver who didn't know the route and had not only showed up to the school late (apparently they were the last kids to be picked up) but took much longer than usual to drive the route. I understand that sometimes last minute subs need to be brought in and they won't necessarily be familiar with the routes. I have copied down the number for the bus barn and if there is ever another instance of the bus being more than 10 minutes late I will call them, that is not a problem.

There is a problem, however, with the way the substitute driver spoke to DS11. As I said the driver was not familiar with the route and apparently she asked him to sit up front and give her directions. He said there were a few times he accidentally gave her a wrong direction and she yelled at him. DS9 confirmed that her tone was "really mean" and she was yelling. At one point DS11 told her to take a turn too early or late and she yelled "You need to get your directions straight!". Another time she asked him, as she turned down a road where there is one stop, if she was supposed to turn around at the end of that road. She hadn't yet let the kids that live on that road off so he told her no (he thought she was asking if she should turn around immediately) and then, after she let the kids off, she asked if she should continue straight. At this time DS11 told her "No, now you turn around." and she yelled at him again, saying "I asked you if I was supposed to turn around on this road! Why did you tell me not to and now you're telling me to turn around!" Finally, as she was heading away from that stop, she asked if she was supposed to continue straight. When DS11 told her yes she mocked him, asking repeatedly "Are you sure? I asked you before if I was supposed to go straight and you said I was but you were wrong! Are you sure I go straight this time?"

The driver's attitude is completely unacceptable to me. I understand that a substitute may occasionally need help from the older kids, the boys said the sub they had on the morning drive needed help, too, but he was very nice and patient. DS11 was upset when he got home. He felt it was partly his fault that they were so late because he'd given the driver bad directions and mad her angry. I don't know who else to contact about this matter so I thought it best to bring it to your attention and ask that you look into it.

Thank you,
Jen
(I'll use my full name)
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: LadyL on March 05, 2013, 04:59:16 PM
Your version is long and somewhat confusing because of too much detail. Here's a pared down version.

It's actually a busing issue but I don't have any contact info for them, so I thought the Principal would be the next best thing. I'm suffering from a head-cold and a moderate case of "Angry Momma Bear" right now so I thought I should run this by you all before I send it. Please edit as needed.


Mr. Principal,

I'm contacting your regarding the bus driver that subbed for UsualDriver on the afternoon of March 5th. My children were late coming home from school because they had a new driver who didn't know the route. This driver asked my 11 year old son to sit up front and give her directions. Since obviously he does not drive, he struggled to give her the type of directions she needed, which prompted her to raise her voice at him, saying things such as  "You need to get your directions straight!" After he gave her a set of directions, she replied in a mocking tone and repeated "Are you sure? I asked you before if I was supposed to go straight and you said I was but you were wrong! Are you sure I go straight this time?"

The driver's attitude is completely unacceptable to me. <insert what you want done here>

Thank you,
Jen
(I'll use my full name)

Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Roo on March 05, 2013, 05:08:09 PM
Original version is simply far too long:

Dear Principal,

I'm aware this is likely out of your wheelhouse, but I lack the contact information for the transportation department and wish to make a complaint regarding the substitute driver for my childrenís bus route, normally handled by [regular driverís name and route/address/some sort of identifying info, because the principal will have exactly zero idea who you are talking about], on the afternoon of 3/5/13.

The driver seemed completely unfamiliar with the route and relied far too much on my older son for directions. She lost her temper several times in the duration of their conversation, raised her voice, and spoke to my child in a manner I find unacceptable. [examples here, if you really want]

I would like some clarification regarding the policies for substitute drivers; surely they have the directions for the route and all pertinent information regarding the passengers readily available? Or the ability to communicate via radio to another adult in the transportation department? Iím very uncomfortable with the notion of my childrenís bus driver relying on children to navigate.

Thank you for your time and attention, etc.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: JenJay on March 05, 2013, 05:11:50 PM
Thanks, I figured it was too long (I'd already deleted an entire paragraph! LOL) but you know how it is when you're mad and you want to get it all out there. I'll do some paring.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: oceanus on March 05, 2013, 05:18:34 PM
Mr. Principal,

I'm contacting your you regarding the bus driver that who subbed for UsualDriver on the afternoon of March 5th. My children were <20 minutes>late coming home from school because they had a new driver who didn't know the route. This driver asked my 11 year old son to sit up front and give her directions. Since obviously he does not drive, He struggled to give her the type of directions she needed, which prompted her to raise her voice at him, saying things such as  "You need to get your directions straight!" After he gave her a set of directions, she replied in a mocking tone and repeated "Are you sure? I asked you before if I was supposed to go straight and you said I was but you were wrong! Are you sure I go straight this time?"

The driver's attitude is completely unacceptable to me. <insert what you want done >
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: JenJay on March 05, 2013, 05:29:26 PM
Mr. Principal,

I'm contacting your you regarding the bus driver that who subbed for UsualDriver on the afternoon of March 5th. My children were <20 minutes>late coming home from school because they had a new driver who didn't know the route. This driver asked my 11 year old son to sit up front and give her directions. Since obviously he does not drive, He struggled to give her the type of directions she needed, which prompted her to raise her voice at him, saying things such as  "You need to get your directions straight!" After he gave her a set of directions, she replied in a mocking tone and repeated "Are you sure? I asked you before if I was supposed to go straight and you said I was but you were wrong! Are you sure I go straight this time?"

The driver's attitude is completely unacceptable to me. <insert what you want done >

Oh thank you for catching those errors! I've used these suggestions and some from a friend, how does this sound? It is important to me that he understand that my son was upset, felt responsible for their lateness, and felt the driver was mad at him personally for the directions so I've tried to get that across.

Mr. <Principal>,

I'm contacting you regarding the bus driver who subbed for <Driver's Name and route #> on the afternoon of March 5th. My sons, DS11 and DS9, were more than 20 minutes late getting home after school. The driver was not familiar with the route and asked DS11 to sit up front and give her directions. He struggled to give her the type of directions she needed, which prompted her to raise her voice at him, saying angrily "You need to get your directions straight!" After he gave her another set of directions she replied in a mocking tone "Are you sure? I asked you before if I was supposed to go straight and you said I was but you were wrong! Are you sure I go straight this time?" He was upset when he got home and felt responsible for how late they were.

The driver's demeanor toward my child is unacceptable. Iím also very uncomfortable with the bus drivers relying on children to navigate; surely they have directions for the route and all pertinent information regarding the passengers readily available, or the ability to communicate via radio to another adult in the transportation department? I appreciate your attention to this matter.

Thank you,
Me

Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: oceanus on March 05, 2013, 05:35:12 PM
Mr. Principal,

I'm contacting your you regarding the bus driver that who subbed for UsualDriver on the afternoon of March 5th. My children were <20 minutes>late coming home from school because they had a new driver who didn't know the route. This driver asked my 11 year old son to sit up front and give her directions. Since obviously he does not drive, He struggled to give her the type of directions she needed, which prompted her to raise her voice at him, saying things such as  "You need to get your directions straight!" After he gave her a set of directions, she replied in a mocking tone and repeated "Are you sure? I asked you before if I was supposed to go straight and you said I was but you were wrong! Are you sure I go straight this time?"

The driver's attitude is completely unacceptable to me. <insert what you want done >

Oh thank you for catching those errors! I've used these suggestions and some from a friend, how does this sound? It is important to me that he understand that my son was upset, felt responsible for their lateness, and felt the driver was mad at him personally for the directions so I've tried to get that across.

Mr. <Principal>,

I'm contacting you regarding the bus driver who subbed for <Driver's Name and route #> on the afternoon of March 5th. My sons, DS11 and DS9, were more than 20 minutes late getting home after school. The driver was not familiar with the route and asked DS11 to sit up front and give her directions. He struggled to give her the type of directions she needed, which prompted her to raise her voice at him, saying angrily "You need to get your directions straight!" After he gave her another set of directions she replied in a mocking tone "Are you sure? I asked you before if I was supposed to go straight and you said I was but you were wrong! Are you sure I go straight this time?" He was upset when he got home and felt responsible for how late they were.

The driver's demeanor toward my child is unacceptable. My son was upset, felt responsible for their lateness, and felt the driver was mad at him personally.  Iím also very uncomfortable with the bus drivers relying on children to navigate; surely they have directions for the route and all pertinent information regarding the passengers readily available, or the ability to communicate via radio to another adult in the transportation department? I appreciate your attention to this matter.

Thank you,
Me
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: JenJay on March 05, 2013, 05:37:32 PM
Mr. Principal,

I'm contacting your you regarding the bus driver that who subbed for UsualDriver on the afternoon of March 5th. My children were <20 minutes>late coming home from school because they had a new driver who didn't know the route. This driver asked my 11 year old son to sit up front and give her directions. Since obviously he does not drive, He struggled to give her the type of directions she needed, which prompted her to raise her voice at him, saying things such as  "You need to get your directions straight!" After he gave her a set of directions, she replied in a mocking tone and repeated "Are you sure? I asked you before if I was supposed to go straight and you said I was but you were wrong! Are you sure I go straight this time?"

The driver's attitude is completely unacceptable to me. <insert what you want done >

Oh thank you for catching those errors! I've used these suggestions and some from a friend, how does this sound? It is important to me that he understand that my son was upset, felt responsible for their lateness, and felt the driver was mad at him personally for the directions so I've tried to get that across.

Mr. <Principal>,

I'm contacting you regarding the bus driver who subbed for <Driver's Name and route #> on the afternoon of March 5th. My sons, DS11 and DS9, were more than 20 minutes late getting home after school. The driver was not familiar with the route and asked DS11 to sit up front and give her directions. He struggled to give her the type of directions she needed, which prompted her to raise her voice at him, saying angrily "You need to get your directions straight!" After he gave her another set of directions she replied in a mocking tone "Are you sure? I asked you before if I was supposed to go straight and you said I was but you were wrong! Are you sure I go straight this time?" He was upset when he got home and felt responsible for how late they were.

The driver's demeanor toward my child is unacceptable. My son was upset, felt responsible for their lateness, and felt the driver was mad at him personally.  Iím also very uncomfortable with the bus drivers relying on children to navigate; surely they have directions for the route and all pertinent information regarding the passengers readily available, or the ability to communicate via radio to another adult in the transportation department? I appreciate your attention to this matter.

Thank you,
Me

Perfect, thank you!
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: *inviteseller on March 05, 2013, 05:38:54 PM
As a veteran of school bus issues I feel your pain, but I would cut it down a bit :

Dear Principal,
     Today my sons (names) had a substitute bus driver for the afternoon (bus number).  While this is not a problem, the bus was 20 minutes later than normal due to the driver not knowing the route.  She requested my older son sit in the front and give directions, and while he tried his best, this is not something he is used to doing and had trouble.  The driver then got frustrated and angry with my son which upset him unnecessarily.   I would like this to be addressed immediately as no student should be responsible for the driver not knowing a route and berating a child.  I would appreciate a call from either yourself or head of transportation within the next day to discuss further details of the conversation between the driver and my son and what will be done to make sure this never happens again.
Your name
Your phone number

Even if this is a substitute, they should still be either given written directions to follow or should have called the transportation department when she was having trouble. 
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: kckgirl on March 05, 2013, 05:42:03 PM
I like *inviteseller's version. Can you go on the school district web site to find contact information for the transportation department? If you can, that would avoid the delay that will happen when you address it with the principal, who really won't have any recourse but to turn it over to the transportation people anyway.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: JenJay on March 05, 2013, 06:04:02 PM
I like *inviteseller's version. Can you go on the school district web site to find contact information for the transportation department? If you can, that would avoid the delay that will happen when you address it with the principal, who really won't have any recourse but to turn it over to the transportation people anyway.

I only have a phone number and I don't trust them not to just say "Yes ma'am, we'll look in to it." and blow me off. I've had to contact the school twice before* and I've been very impressed with how they handle things. I don't necessarily expect to hear back from him other than an acknowledgement that he received my email and will pass it on to the appropriate person and I'm happy with that. I'm working under the assumption that the powers-that-be don't realize the driver is such a grump and now they will. If the kids have this driver again and she's a grump again I'll take it further up the chain.  ;)

*The first time was when another kid on the bus wouldn't stop touching my son's head even though he repeatedly asked the kid to stop and asked the bus driver if he could move (she let him but the other kid moved, too, and kept touching him). I wasn't able to speak with the driver because the toucher got off after my kids and DS didn't want him to overhear a complaint. I emailed DS's teacher and she wrote back that she'd look into it. The next day DS said the other boy was moved away from him and there were no further issues.

The second time they had a music sub who went off on a random tangent about how you shouldn't bully other kids because one of them might come to school with a gun and kill you and your friends. They were 4th graders! I emailed his teacher again and got replies from her and the school counselor. She wasn't allowed to tell me exactly how that played out but I was led to believe that the teacher likely won't be subbing at the elementary level again and definitely wouldn't be discussing her personal views on bullying.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: oceanus on March 05, 2013, 06:07:09 PM
Quote
a music sub who went off on a random tangent about how you shouldn't bully other kids because one of them might come to school with a gun and kill you and your friends. They were 4th graders!

 :o Yikes.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: katycoo on March 05, 2013, 06:40:19 PM
OK.  I'm jumping in here in partial defence of the bus driver.  I'm in AUstralia so things are likely a bit different, but just as background info, I want to tell you how it works for DH.

Each route a bus depot operates is listed in a book of left and rights.  They don't have a map, just a list of directions which oretty much says left on X street, continue down X street for 5km, right on Y street...
Occasionally he will be transferred onto a route with very little notice, so there's no time to review the L&Rs ahead of time with a map.
They don't know where the stops are.  They rely on street markings and passengers signalling.
It is VERY difficult, if not completely unsafe to look at the lefts and rights while driving.  If a wrong turn is taken, it is almost always the passengers who let him know.  The route can get quite messed up if a wrong turn is taken as buses are pretty difficult to turn and cannot go dow every street.
The radio cannot be operated while driving.  And DH cannot place a call through.  He can place a notice that he wants a call from the radio room.  They then call back and DH has to pull over before he can talk to them.  The wait time for a callback is usually 5-20 minutes.
The side mirrors on a bus a notoriously easy to knock off.  You can't be looking too closely for street signs, and neglect to see every signpost, street light, branch, high vehicle, or telepgraph pole coming up next to you.  Lose a mirror, replacement bus needed.

So,  asking a kid for directions - reasonable.  Especially if there's no adult to ask.

Raising her voice adn getting angry at the kid for not being perfect?  Unacceptable.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: JenJay on March 05, 2013, 06:57:46 PM
OK.  I'm jumping in here in partial defence of the bus driver.  I'm in AUstralia so things are likely a bit different, but just as background info, I want to tell you how it works for DH.

Each route a bus depot operates is listed in a book of left and rights.  They don't have a map, just a list of directions which oretty much says left on X street, continue down X street for 5km, right on Y street...
Occasionally he will be transferred onto a route with very little notice, so there's no time to review the L&Rs ahead of time with a map.
They don't know where the stops are.  They rely on street markings and passengers signalling.
It is VERY difficult, if not completely unsafe to look at the lefts and rights while driving.  If a wrong turn is taken, it is almost always the passengers who let him know.  The route can get quite messed up if a wrong turn is taken as buses are pretty difficult to turn and cannot go dow every street.
The radio cannot be operated while driving.  And DH cannot place a call through.  He can place a notice that he wants a call from the radio room.  They then call back and DH has to pull over before he can talk to them.  The wait time for a callback is usually 5-20 minutes.
The side mirrors on a bus a notoriously easy to knock off.  You can't be looking too closely for street signs, and neglect to see every signpost, street light, branch, high vehicle, or telepgraph pole coming up next to you.  Lose a mirror, replacement bus needed.

So,  asking a kid for directions - reasonable.  Especially if there's no adult to ask.

Raising her voice adn getting angry at the kid for not being perfect?  Unacceptable.

I'd completely agree if this happened on a bus with middle or high school aged kids, but this was only elementary aged kids. She asked my DS because he was the oldest and he just turned 11 literally days ago. Fortunately he's ridden the same bus for a year and a half and ours is the last stop so he's familiar with the entire route. That said he still goofed up a time or two because it made him nervous to be responsible for guiding her, which was only compounded by her nasty attitude. I wonder what she would have done if he wasn't there? There needs to be instant radio communication or GPS routing or something. I can see needing to ask the kids where along the route to stop but the kids make it sound like she didn't even know what the route was.  :-\
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Sharnita on March 05, 2013, 07:13:27 PM
Even if it is a high school senior they can try to help the driver but she shouldn't be giving them flak for mistakes unless he is getting a paycheck.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: luvmyboys on March 05, 2013, 07:29:11 PM
We have had some extreme issues with my son's bus.   I not only contacted the principal, but I also copied the superintendent and the head of the transportation department.   Good luck, I hope this never happens again.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: katycoo on March 05, 2013, 07:29:19 PM
I'd completely agree if this happened on a bus with middle or high school aged kids, but this was only elementary aged kids. She asked my DS because he was the oldest and he just turned 11 literally days ago. Fortunately he's ridden the same bus for a year and a half and ours is the last stop so he's familiar with the entire route. That said he still goofed up a time or two because it made him nervous to be responsible for guiding her, which was only compounded by her nasty attitude. I wonder what she would have done if he wasn't there? There needs to be instant radio communication or GPS routing or something. I can see needing to ask the kids where along the route to stop but the kids make it sound like she didn't even know what the route was.  :-\

She'd probably have pulled over a number of times to work it out and run very very late.

I don't disagree for a minute that a better system is needed.  But if there isn't one available, the driver has limited options.

Your poor son.  He did his best.  She should have been grateful for his efforts.  I understand that it might have been frustrating but its not his fault.  And she certainly shoudn't have put him under such pressure.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: LifeOnPluto on March 05, 2013, 08:37:54 PM
I'd completely agree if this happened on a bus with middle or high school aged kids, but this was only elementary aged kids. She asked my DS because he was the oldest and he just turned 11 literally days ago. Fortunately he's ridden the same bus for a year and a half and ours is the last stop so he's familiar with the entire route. That said he still goofed up a time or two because it made him nervous to be responsible for guiding her, which was only compounded by her nasty attitude. I wonder what she would have done if he wasn't there? There needs to be instant radio communication or GPS routing or something. I can see needing to ask the kids where along the route to stop but the kids make it sound like she didn't even know what the route was.  :-\

She'd probably have pulled over a number of times to work it out and run very very late.

I don't disagree for a minute that a better system is needed.  But if there isn't one available, the driver has limited options.

Your poor son.  He did his best.  She should have been grateful for his efforts.  I understand that it might have been frustrating but its not his fault.  And she certainly shoudn't have put him under such pressure.

Agree with Katycoo. I don't think it was rude for the bus driver to ask your son for directions. But it was rude to berate him for getting them wrong.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Roe on March 05, 2013, 08:43:50 PM
The fact that asking an elementary student for route/directions is the best option a sub driver can get is worrisome.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: JenJay on March 05, 2013, 09:32:44 PM
I'd completely agree if this happened on a bus with middle or high school aged kids, but this was only elementary aged kids. She asked my DS because he was the oldest and he just turned 11 literally days ago. Fortunately he's ridden the same bus for a year and a half and ours is the last stop so he's familiar with the entire route. That said he still goofed up a time or two because it made him nervous to be responsible for guiding her, which was only compounded by her nasty attitude. I wonder what she would have done if he wasn't there? There needs to be instant radio communication or GPS routing or something. I can see needing to ask the kids where along the route to stop but the kids make it sound like she didn't even know what the route was.  :-\

She'd probably have pulled over a number of times to work it out and run very very late.

I don't disagree for a minute that a better system is needed.  But if there isn't one available, the driver has limited options.

Your poor son.  He did his best.  She should have been grateful for his efforts.  I understand that it might have been frustrating but its not his fault.  And she certainly shoudn't have put him under such pressure.

Agree with Katycoo. I don't think it was rude for the bus driver to ask your son for directions. But it was rude to berate him for getting them wrong.

I don't think it was rude that the driver needed to ask an 11 year old how to navigate her route. I think it was poor planning on the part of whoever is in charge of assigning subs. I understand that they may need to send a driver who isn't familiar with the route but having to rely on the kids is a bad idea. It's happened before and while I admit I didn't think it was ideal, it didn't bother me until now, because she was nasty about it. DS said the morning driver needed his help, too, but he was patient and nice and they were only about 2 minutes late getting to class. It happens.

The Principal asked me to call the transportation director for our area tomorrow and he thanked me for bringing this to his attention and said he will speak with the director as well.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: SeptGurl on March 06, 2013, 06:19:15 AM
The fact that asking an elementary student for route/directions is the best option a sub driver can get is worrisome.

POD. OP, I hope the transportation director is receptive to your concerns.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: CakeEater on March 06, 2013, 03:14:13 PM
I'll go against the grain and say that I thought your original letter was fine. I thought the length gave you time to explain that you weren't holding the school responsible, and what all the issues were.

The pared down versions are fine as well, of course.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: MorgnsGrl on March 06, 2013, 03:34:13 PM
OK.  I'm jumping in here in partial defence of the bus driver.  I'm in AUstralia so things are likely a bit different, but just as background info, I want to tell you how it works for DH.

Each route a bus depot operates is listed in a book of left and rights.  They don't have a map, just a list of directions which oretty much says left on X street, continue down X street for 5km, right on Y street...
Occasionally he will be transferred onto a route with very little notice, so there's no time to review the L&Rs ahead of time with a map.
They don't know where the stops are.  They rely on street markings and passengers signalling.
It is VERY difficult, if not completely unsafe to look at the lefts and rights while driving.  If a wrong turn is taken, it is almost always the passengers who let him know.  The route can get quite messed up if a wrong turn is taken as buses are pretty difficult to turn and cannot go dow every street.
The radio cannot be operated while driving.  And DH cannot place a call through.  He can place a notice that he wants a call from the radio room.  They then call back and DH has to pull over before he can talk to them.  The wait time for a callback is usually 5-20 minutes.
The side mirrors on a bus a notoriously easy to knock off.  You can't be looking too closely for street signs, and neglect to see every signpost, street light, branch, high vehicle, or telepgraph pole coming up next to you.  Lose a mirror, replacement bus needed.

So,  asking a kid for directions - reasonable.  Especially if there's no adult to ask.

Raising her voice adn getting angry at the kid for not being perfect?  Unacceptable.

I'd completely agree if this happened on a bus with middle or high school aged kids, but this was only elementary aged kids. She asked my DS because he was the oldest and he just turned 11 literally days ago. Fortunately he's ridden the same bus for a year and a half and ours is the last stop so he's familiar with the entire route. That said he still goofed up a time or two because it made him nervous to be responsible for guiding her, which was only compounded by her nasty attitude. I wonder what she would have done if he wasn't there? There needs to be instant radio communication or GPS routing or something. I can see needing to ask the kids where along the route to stop but the kids make it sound like she didn't even know what the route was.  :-\

Plus, what did they do, describe the route to her in vague terms and hope for the best? Did she not receive written directions? If she had, she could have asked one of the older kids to sit behind her and read them to her. It's ridiculous to think that the transportation department would put a driver on a bus and say, okay, go drop off all these kids! with no further instruction. I'm sure the driver was stressed but that's no excuse for treating a student like that.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: miredrose326 on March 06, 2013, 04:37:17 PM
I can tell you that if a bus driver ever put my 13 year old daughter in charge of getting anyone to the right house, including herself, they would never make it. I can't imagine putting that much responsibility on the shoulders of a child and then yelling at them when they make a mistake.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: sammycat on March 06, 2013, 09:20:11 PM
I'll go against the grain and say that I thought your original letter was fine. I thought the length gave you time to explain that you weren't holding the school responsible, and what all the issues were.

The pared down versions are fine as well, of course.

Ditto.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: EnoughAlready22 on March 08, 2013, 07:52:16 AM
I'll go against the grain and say that I thought your original letter was fine. I thought the length gave you time to explain that you weren't holding the school responsible, and what all the issues were.

The pared down versions are fine as well, of course.

I agree.  I think the whole story needs to be told, not a watered down version. 
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Sharnita on March 08, 2013, 09:35:25 AM
I think the longer version does water it down. It adds so many details thst they distract from the real issue.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: JenJay on March 08, 2013, 10:50:44 AM
I went with a shorter version that included a lot of the editing suggestions.

The Principal replied to my email that same evening and asked me to call the transportation director the next day. He also said he'd call them as well because he shared my concerns. Unfortunately school (and school offices) were canceled due to snow so I wasn't able to call. I had planned to call yesterday but I received another email from him very early, saying he had forwarded my email to the director and had spoken to her, so I decided to leave it at that. If there are any further issues I'll call her but I think it's covered for now.

Yesterday the boys told me they had yet another substitute driver, and she again needed a bit of guidance, but she was really nice and knew most of the route. DS9 told me that right before he got off the bus he stopped and said to her "You're a lot nicer than the lady we had before. She yelled a lot!" I asked him what her response was and he said "She didn't really say anything, just smiled at me." I can imagine.  :P
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: gramma dishes on March 08, 2013, 11:28:19 AM
It may be that the substitute really wasn't called in until the very last minute and didn't have time to run the route herself in advance and also wasn't provided a map with specific instructions and illustrations as to which turns to make and which corners to stop at to let kids out. 

I wonder if just possibly she thought that maybe your son was intentionally misdirecting her.  That doesn't excuse her behavior of course.  But I do wonder.  Not YOUR son, but there are kids out there who would do something like that thinking it was funny.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Twik on March 08, 2013, 11:48:31 AM
Yes, but an adult driver shouldn't expect an 11 year old to be able to describe a full bus route. So, there would really be no difference between deliberate and accidental misinformation.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: gramma dishes on March 08, 2013, 11:57:15 AM
Yes, but an adult driver shouldn't expect an 11 year old to be able to describe a full bus route. So, there would really be no difference between deliberate and accidental misinformation.

You're right, of course.  No doubt about that.

But it may be that that was her only recourse if she wasn't provided appropriate information to begin with.  It has happened that substitute drivers really are called in just minutes before the bus is loaded to take the kids home.
 
And there are eleven year olds who would be able to guide a driver through a bus route without hitches, so she may have assumed all kids could. 
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Sophia on March 08, 2013, 12:17:32 PM
Good luck.  When I was in High School, the bus driver played chicken with an oncoming small car on a barely 2-lane road.  The road was paved but country-ish and sloped on both sides to ditches.  (This was pre-cell phones. so no proof)  Nothing was done.

Although, my parents did make an exception for school on the (4 A's and 2 B's to drive my car for the next 6-weeks rule), so it wasn't all bad.  Although, the driver of the small car probably had to go home and change his pants. 
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Sharnita on March 08, 2013, 01:01:52 PM
Honestly, I couldn't have done it even when I was 18.  I got on the bus and zoned out.  I knew some of the stops but not all.  Also, there were some "hidden" reasons for why we did what we did.  There were times when the bus went ways that seemed illogically long ways around because of this or that regulation that a non-busdriver wouldn't know about (or wouldn't care about).
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: artk2002 on March 08, 2013, 03:34:36 PM
Yes, but an adult driver shouldn't expect an 11 year old to be able to describe a full bus route. So, there would really be no difference between deliberate and accidental misinformation.

You're right, of course.  No doubt about that.

But it may be that that was her only recourse if she wasn't provided appropriate information to begin with.  It has happened that substitute drivers really are called in just minutes before the bus is loaded to take the kids home.
 
And there are eleven year olds who would be able to guide a driver through a bus route without hitches, so she may have assumed all kids could.

Her proper recourse was to go back to the people who put her on the bus without proper directions. I can't believe that someone would get on a bus that has a designated route, and not ask/demand for that route before starting off. If the driver thought "oh, I'll get directions from one of the kids," then she's incompetent. If someone told her to get directions from a kid, then both she and the other person are incompetent.

Some 11yo may be able to give good enough directions, but not all (or even most.) She was extremely fortunate that there was a kid who knew it fairly well and lived at the end of the route. What would the driver have done if OP's kids got off in the middle of the route? Continued with a 6yo? Forced the 11yo to stay on the bus?
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: JenJay on March 08, 2013, 03:43:57 PM
Yes, but an adult driver shouldn't expect an 11 year old to be able to describe a full bus route. So, there would really be no difference between deliberate and accidental misinformation.

You're right, of course.  No doubt about that.

But it may be that that was her only recourse if she wasn't provided appropriate information to begin with.  It has happened that substitute drivers really are called in just minutes before the bus is loaded to take the kids home.
 
And there are eleven year olds who would be able to guide a driver through a bus route without hitches, so she may have assumed all kids could.

Her proper recourse was to go back to the people who put her on the bus without proper directions. I can't believe that someone would get on a bus that has a designated route, and not ask/demand for that route before starting off. If the driver thought "oh, I'll get directions from one of the kids," then she's incompetent. If someone told her to get directions from a kid, then both she and the other person are incompetent.

Some 11yo may be able to give good enough directions, but not all (or even most.) She was extremely fortunate that there was a kid who knew it fairly well and lived at the end of the route. What would the driver have done if OP's kids got off in the middle of the route? Continued with a 6yo? Forced the 11yo to stay on the bus?

Exactly

Like I've said, there have been other substitute drivers who've needed a bit of help from the kids. I don't love it, but I sympathize with the driver and I don't have a problem with that. This driver apparently needed step by step directions AND yelled at the kids for not being able to provide them. Now we have a problem.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Roe on March 08, 2013, 03:47:29 PM
Yes, but an adult driver shouldn't expect an 11 year old to be able to describe a full bus route. So, there would really be no difference between deliberate and accidental misinformation.

You're right, of course.  No doubt about that.

But it may be that that was her only recourse if she wasn't provided appropriate information to begin with.  It has happened that substitute drivers really are called in just minutes before the bus is loaded to take the kids home.
 
And there are eleven year olds who would be able to guide a driver through a bus route without hitches, so she may have assumed all kids could.

Her proper recourse was to go back to the people who put her on the bus without proper directions. I can't believe that someone would get on a bus that has a designated route, and not ask/demand for that route before starting off. If the driver thought "oh, I'll get directions from one of the kids," then she's incompetent. If someone told her to get directions from a kid, then both she and the other person are incompetent.

Some 11yo may be able to give good enough directions, but not all (or even most.) She was extremely fortunate that there was a kid who knew it fairly well and lived at the end of the route. What would the driver have done if OP's kids got off in the middle of the route? Continued with a 6yo? Forced the 11yo to stay on the bus?

Absolutely!  I couldn't agree more.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: katycoo on March 09, 2013, 12:42:36 AM
I'm pretty sure I could have directed the bus driver around my school bus route at that age - I knew it well enough.  But the pressure of having to get it right or being relied upon can make ANYONE second guess themselves.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: MamaMootz on March 09, 2013, 08:41:04 AM
I know the issue is being handled but while I was reading the posts, I was wondering: in this day and age of cell phones and modern technology, does no one on that bus have GPS? If I were a substitute driver and was unfamiliar with all the routes, I'd run to Best Buy and pick myself up a cheap Garmin or something like it - so that I would not have to rely on 11 year olds to tell me where I need to go.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Sharnita on March 09, 2013, 08:46:46 AM
I know the issue is being handled but while I was reading the posts, I was wondering: in this day and age of cell phones and modern technology, does no one on that bus have GPS? If I were a substitute driver and was unfamiliar with all the routes, I'd run to Best Buy and pick myself up a cheap Garmin or something like it - so that I would not have to rely on 11 year olds to tell me where I need to go.

The problem is that GPS will tell you the best/most logical/fastest way to go.  I recall that our bus route did not go the best/most logical/fastest way to go because there were some rules or regulations they had to follow.  It has been years now so I can't remember if it was that the bus was not supposed to go down one busy highway even though it would be faster or if it would briefly cross a road that would technically require us to be driving in another district for a couple minutes.  ALl I remember is that we did a lot of backtracking and more or less zigzagging because the bus route had been laid out that way for some reason.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Roe on March 09, 2013, 09:56:37 AM
But the transportation dept. can create routes for each bus and either put a map in the bus or input the route in a GPS.  Its' not that difficult to do.  The transportation dept. failed big time.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Sharnita on March 09, 2013, 09:59:19 AM
But the transportation dept. can create routes for each bus and either put a map in the bus or input the route in a GPS.  Its' not that difficult to do.  The transportation dept. failed big time.

Yeah, but that would be a different route than you'd get from your Best Buy Garmin or some sponataneouly provided GPS.  I completely agree that the route needs to come from the Transportation Dept. for that very reason.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: MamaMootz on March 09, 2013, 03:23:20 PM
Roe has an excellent point - why didn't the transportation dept provide any kind of route to the driver? Or did they, and she ignored it?
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: katycoo on March 11, 2013, 06:37:47 PM
But the transportation dept. can create routes for each bus and either put a map in the bus or input the route in a GPS.  Its' not that difficult to do.  The transportation dept. failed big time.

The problem with GPS is:

1. It can't store several hundred routes;
2. it can't read the traffic.  If there's a diversion, the GPS can't change its route
3. There's huge cost implications for for putting a GPS system in every bus and keeping each unit updated with new route info (assuming you could, in fact, store all routes in one unit)

A physical bus isn't allocated per route.  Buses are contantly being rotated - for servicing or repairs, or drivers are simply transferred to another route (ie. bus 259 is delayed due to a traffic accident.  We need you do go cover route 61 now as 259 won't be there for another 2 hours!)  So every bus needs to be equipped for every route.

Also - charter routes are not regular routes - they're different again.

Roe has an excellent point - why didn't the transportation dept provide any kind of route to the driver? Or did they, and she ignored it?

As I mentioned before.  She probably did have a map or left and right directions of some kind.  But you can't read directions AND drive a bus at the same time.  It simply isn't safe.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: artk2002 on March 11, 2013, 07:31:47 PM
Roe has an excellent point - why didn't the transportation dept provide any kind of route to the driver? Or did they, and she ignored it?

As I mentioned before.  She probably did have a map or left and right directions of some kind.  But you can't read directions AND drive a bus at the same time.  It simply isn't safe.

Then the map or directions are pretty useless, aren't they? If someone did give her a map and directions, then they are incompetent. If she had the map/directions she should have at least shared them with her "co pilot." Or pulled over at intervals to consult them. If she had them and didn't do these things... she's incompetent.

There is no acceptable excuse for what happened. None whatsoever. Somebody that ill prepared should not be driving children around. If it's too hard for her then she needs to find a different occupation.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: MamaMootz on March 11, 2013, 07:57:17 PM
But the transportation dept. can create routes for each bus and either put a map in the bus or input the route in a GPS.  Its' not that difficult to do.  The transportation dept. failed big time.

The problem with GPS is:

1. It can't store several hundred routes;
2. it can't read the traffic.  If there's a diversion, the GPS can't change its route
3. There's huge cost implications for for putting a GPS system in every bus and keeping each unit updated with new route info (assuming you could, in fact, store all routes in one unit)

A physical bus isn't allocated per route.  Buses are contantly being rotated - for servicing or repairs, or drivers are simply transferred to another route (ie. bus 259 is delayed due to a traffic accident.  We need you do go cover route 61 now as 259 won't be there for another 2 hours!)  So every bus needs to be equipped for every route.

Also - charter routes are not regular routes - they're different again.

Roe has an excellent point - why didn't the transportation dept provide any kind of route to the driver? Or did they, and she ignored it?

As I mentioned before.  She probably did have a map or left and right directions of some kind.  But you can't read directions AND drive a bus at the same time.  It simply isn't safe.

If the driver felt she was lost, though, a lot of people have GPS these days in their cell phones - so rather than relying on an 11 year old for information, I'd much rather program my phone and have it talk to me while I drive.

also, even if the bus isn't allocated to a specific route every day, the routes themselves don't change based on where kids get dropped off, unless a stop is added due to new construction, so the bus folk could have given the sub something as a guide.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: katycoo on March 11, 2013, 08:43:31 PM
But the transportation dept. can create routes for each bus and either put a map in the bus or input the route in a GPS.  Its' not that difficult to do.  The transportation dept. failed big time.

The problem with GPS is:

1. It can't store several hundred routes;
2. it can't read the traffic.  If there's a diversion, the GPS can't change its route
3. There's huge cost implications for for putting a GPS system in every bus and keeping each unit updated with new route info (assuming you could, in fact, store all routes in one unit)

A physical bus isn't allocated per route.  Buses are contantly being rotated - for servicing or repairs, or drivers are simply transferred to another route (ie. bus 259 is delayed due to a traffic accident.  We need you do go cover route 61 now as 259 won't be there for another 2 hours!)  So every bus needs to be equipped for every route.

Also - charter routes are not regular routes - they're different again.

Roe has an excellent point - why didn't the transportation dept provide any kind of route to the driver? Or did they, and she ignored it?

As I mentioned before.  She probably did have a map or left and right directions of some kind.  But you can't read directions AND drive a bus at the same time.  It simply isn't safe.

If the driver felt she was lost, though, a lot of people have GPS these days in their cell phones - so rather than relying on an 11 year old for information, I'd much rather program my phone and have it talk to me while I drive.

also, even if the bus isn't allocated to a specific route every day, the routes themselves don't change based on where kids get dropped off, unless a stop is added due to new construction, so the bus folk could have given the sub something as a guide.

Well, this is regional, but in Australia, even touching a phone which is not in a holder while the vehicle is turned on is illegal.  its an immediately sackable offence.
Most drivers don't even take their phones with them to avoid temptation.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Roe on March 11, 2013, 08:46:24 PM
She could've pulled over.  Plus, it's really hard for me to imagine a bus driver who isn't in contact with the main office.  Maybe she was too ashamed to ask them for help. Either way, no matter which way you look at it, the bus driver doesn't come out looking pretty.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: katycoo on March 11, 2013, 08:58:20 PM
Roe has an excellent point - why didn't the transportation dept provide any kind of route to the driver? Or did they, and she ignored it?

As I mentioned before.  She probably did have a map or left and right directions of some kind.  But you can't read directions AND drive a bus at the same time.  It simply isn't safe.

Then the map or directions are pretty useless, aren't they? If someone did give her a map and directions, then they are incompetent. If she had the map/directions she should have at least shared them with her "co pilot." Or pulled over at intervals to consult them. If she had them and didn't do these things... she's incompetent.

There is no acceptable excuse for what happened. None whatsoever. Somebody that ill prepared should not be driving children around. If it's too hard for her then she needs to find a different occupation.

You seem to be missing the part where it is not (always) the fault of the driver that they are unprepared.  There are occasions when they are given little to no notice of certain shifts/routes.

I cannot speculate why the driver in this OP did did not share whatever map/directions she had with the kid she asked to assist her.  It is probably that she though he would not need them.  No one is disputing that the OP was a shamozzle of a situation.  But a kid with limited reading (or map reading) skills may have found that MORE stressful.

But I doubt you realise who difficult it is to run a bus system when you're dealing with something as unpredictable as traffic.  The driver's main skill is to drive the bus with competance.  The route is second priority.  And there isn't always an appropriate place to pull a BUS over.  Plus, if she was pulling over every 2 minutes, the route would have run REALLY late and people would have complained about that too.

As I've said before - its not ideal.  SO much room for improvments in the system.  But that doesn't make the driver incompetent.

She could've pulled over.  Plus, it's really hard for me to imagine a bus driver who isn't in contact with the main office.  Maybe she was too ashamed to ask them for help. Either way, no matter which way you look at it, the bus driver doesn't come out looking pretty.

Again, Australian experience, but their contact with the office is limited, and they must await a call back. You'd really only call if the situation got dire (ie. I don't know where I am, or I took a wrng turn and am in a street I can't get out of).

This driver was a rude cow, by all accounts.  Nothing i'm saying excuses her attitude.  But over here the drivers are very limited in what they can do to change the system.  Its a government enterprise which runs things.  people who don't follow the system, get fired.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Roe on March 11, 2013, 09:51:11 PM
I'm assuming the OP is in the US.  If she happens to be in Australia, then it might be different, like you say. 

OP?

ETA: I rode the bus when I was little, so many years ago, and even then the driver was in constant contact with the main office and other bus drivers.  So IME, this particular driver was incompetent.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: katycoo on March 11, 2013, 11:03:35 PM
I'm assuming the OP is in the US.  If she happens to be in Australia, then it might be different, like you say. 

OP?

ETA: I rode the bus when I was little, so many years ago, and even then the driver was in constant contact with the main office and other bus drivers.  So IME, this particular driver was incompetent.

Of course.  I'm pretty sure the OP is NOT in Australia and fully apprecaite things might be different.  I was merely offering some insight.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: WillyNilly on March 11, 2013, 11:18:24 PM
As far as not being able to read a map/set of directions while driving, or not being able to pull over... um its a school bus. By its very nature its already stopping an pulling over, regularly. All the driver needs to do is look at the map/route/etc to get to the next stop, not memorize the whole route. Then at that route, while already stopped, look at directions to the next stop, and so forth.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: JenJay on March 12, 2013, 07:29:35 AM
I'm in the US, in a small suburb of a city. We live about 3 miles from the school and they are on the bus for about 20-25 minutes. Most of the route is only one lane each way so there really isn't anywhere for a bus to pull over without blocking the drivers coming up behind it. Traffic is very light in the general area of our neighborhood so that wouldn't necessarily be an issue and, if a car did come along, the bus driver could most likely immediately wave the car to go around without any problem.

My son reads very well - we didn't realize how well until he was recently grounded off all electronics for 3 weeks and blasted through the last 4 Harry Potter books :D. That said, I doubt he could navigate a map entirely successfully since he doesn't drive or know the names of all the streets along the route. I think it would be easiest for him to pay attention to where the driver is and guide her from memory.

Having the route programmed into a navigation system would be ideal but I'm not sure how practical it would be since each driver seems to have a specific bus (as opposed to the bus staying with the route while the driver changes). When the kids have substitute drivers they can tell as soon as the bus turns down our road because it's different than their usual bus. There'd need to be a program that allowed the drivers to download the route into their gps as needed, probably wirelessly or from a computer at home. Plus there'd be the cost of supplying each driver with a device.

I think WillyNilly's suggestion that the driver have written instructions to refer to between stops is the best idea. Personally, that's how I drive when I'm heading somewhere unfamiliar - memorize the first few steps and then consult the directions at stoplights and memorize the next few. Yes, it might cause a delay, but they were 20 minutes late as it was. The lateness didn't bother me, I'll cut a lot of slack for a new driver. I'd rather they drive the route carefully than have to backtrack for missed stops, wrong turns, etc.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: artk2002 on March 12, 2013, 08:33:25 AM
Roe has an excellent point - why didn't the transportation dept provide any kind of route to the driver? Or did they, and she ignored it?

As I mentioned before.  She probably did have a map or left and right directions of some kind.  But you can't read directions AND drive a bus at the same time.  It simply isn't safe.

Then the map or directions are pretty useless, aren't they? If someone did give her a map and directions, then they are incompetent. If she had the map/directions she should have at least shared them with her "co pilot." Or pulled over at intervals to consult them. If she had them and didn't do these things... she's incompetent.

There is no acceptable excuse for what happened. None whatsoever. Somebody that ill prepared should not be driving children around. If it's too hard for her then she needs to find a different occupation.

You seem to be missing the part where it is not (always) the fault of the driver that they are unprepared.  There are occasions when they are given little to no notice of certain shifts/routes.

No, I'm not missing that part at all. If she got behind the wheel, started the vehicle and drove off, then she is ultimately responsible for the bus and what happens on it. Lack of notice or whatever has nothing to do with the situation. Driving a bus full of school children is a very important responsibility; if she wasn't prepared to execute that responsibility then she should not have started the bus in the yard.

If my boss tells me to do something stupid or illegal, it's still my fault if I do it.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: MommyPenguin on March 13, 2013, 07:31:43 AM
I agree with the PP that the bus driver was already pulling over at every stop.  And these are little kids, it takes them plenty long enough to get their backpack, stand up, walk to the front of the bus, walk down the stairs and off the bus, for the driver to look at the directions to the next stop or even input stop by stop into the GPS.  Yes, the GPS will tell you the shortest route and not necessarily the route the bus should take, but it will automatically reroute if you take a different route.  So if she has basic directions that tell her to do such and such, and she has the next stop in her GPS, she'll be able to follow what she's supposed to do a bit better and not, at least, get lost.  And yelling at a kid for not being prepared?  Totally unacceptable.
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Roodabega on March 13, 2013, 10:57:07 AM
I agree with the PP that the bus driver was already pulling over at every stop.  And these are little kids, it takes them plenty long enough to get their backpack, stand up, walk to the front of the bus, walk down the stairs and off the bus, for the driver to look at the directions to the next stop or even input stop by stop into the GPS.  Yes, the GPS will tell you the shortest route and not necessarily the route the bus should take, but it will automatically reroute if you take a different route.  So if she has basic directions that tell her to do such and such, and she has the next stop in her GPS, she'll be able to follow what she's supposed to do a bit better and not, at least, get lost.  And yelling at a kid for not being prepared?  Totally unacceptable.

I was going to say this.  It would only take a few seconds to look at a map/directions at every stop to see where to go next.  If the sub wasn't provided with a map or written directions, then the fault for that is with the bus garage.  Yelling at a passenger for not always giving correct directions is totally on the driver.  My kids have ridden with us for years in our car going to various places.  When they first started driving, they constantly had to ask for directions because they never really paid attention in the back seat.  (Actually, they still ask for directions quite a bit).
Title: Re: Please help me draft an email to the Principal
Post by: Girly on March 16, 2013, 01:35:17 AM
I'm sorry, but the child that was asked to help was 11 years old. The bus driver should not have been relying so heavily on an 11 year old for directions, much less yelling at him when he gets confused.