Author Topic: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Updates #39, 70  (Read 14986 times)

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Oh Joy

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #30 on: September 30, 2012, 11:45:55 AM »
Now, I can see that the band director might have insight as to who I need to talk to, and/or what I need to say, to effect change. I can't imagine that me talking to anyone without going through the band director is going to get him reprimanded though, he has nothing to do with transportation issues! If he's back at school on Monday, maybe I can talk to him. If he continues to be out though, I really don't want to delay getting started on fixing this situation. Every day that the problem isn't resolved is another day that we have to transport DSS and his instrument, and that other students may not be able to practice at all because they don't have transportation.

(Intending this as reassuring, not dismissive) It's very unlikely that this is the first time instruments on the bus have been addressed, and others have been participating in the music program with medium and large instruments.  I wouldn't worry too much about all of the alternative options until I spoke with someone in the music department who knows what all of the other bus-riding trombonists have done over the years.

Hang in there!   :)

Slartibartfast

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #31 on: September 30, 2012, 11:56:10 AM »
Is there an orchestra director?  He/she could give you the same information the band director would, has the same problem (students not being able to practice), and doesn't have the personal life issues standing in the way.

stkatie00

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #32 on: September 30, 2012, 02:08:48 PM »
Does the band director also conduct the orchestra? If not, I'd give the orchestra conductor a heads up that you're going to talk to the administration about this. It affects the string players too, after all.

In other words, what Slarti said. :)

TheaterDiva1

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #33 on: September 30, 2012, 02:16:45 PM »
Re-reading the OP - am I the only one bothered by the fact that the kid was "assigned" the trombone?  In my band days, each kid chose their own instrument upon signing up.  The school has to help out if they assigned an instrument knowing he has no way of bringing it home.

andjoshtoo

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2012, 02:29:08 PM »
My son plays trumpet in the HS band. Last year, when he was in 8th grade, they(the bus drivers) pulled this "No instrument on the bus" deal with them. I chatted with the band director and he encouraged me to call the board office with it.

Coincidentally, this decree came after football season, when the players often cart their equipment to and from school. I mentioned this when I talked with our school lawyer. Her response was that the bus drivers said that the instruments were a hazard due to their hard cases. I responded with band was a graded class that required instruments and football/other sports were not graded and yet, they could bring everything and anything they needed. Response to that? Their duffel bags were soft.(!)

She said we, the parents, were responsible for getting the instruments to and from school. If we wanted, she said, we could leave the instruments in the band room, although she couldn't promise they'd be safe. She also suggested buying/renting a second to keep at home.  I then suggested since band was actually a grade, that they(the district) should supply the transportation(IE a band bus) to the kids this rule affected. She literally LOL'd and asked where the money for that would come from. Wrong question to ask me!

Long story short, after a few weeks of being squeaky, my son got permission to bring his trumpet on the bus. I met with his bus driver and this principal and made sure they both knew. They did. I also let the other parents know who I talked to, what I said, and how the issue was resolved. In the end, this rule has all but disappeared. They modified it to say large instruments are not allowed on the bus.(basically, drum sets and key boards) Instruments that typically weren't brought on the bus anyways.

Anne


norrina

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2012, 03:25:46 PM »
DSS' band director is over the entire district's band and strings programs for grades 5-8. It looks like there are other instructors at the HS level, but I haven't been able to figure out if there is someone over the entire music program at that level.

Students have the options of picking up strings in grade 5, then of doing strings and/or band in grades 6-8. At the high school level, there's chorus, steel drums, etc. depending on the school.

DSS played violin in 5th grade. He decided he wanted to change instruments in 6th grade. Apparently he was "assigned" the trombone because when they practiced that was the instrument he was best at. He is excited about his instrument, so while we did think it was a bit off that he was "assigned" it without any parental input, ultimately it wasn't worth making an issue of since he was happy.

Responding directly to andjoshtoo's experience, if the school/district/board/band director/etc. cannot or will not work with us to find a reasonable resolution to this problem, I am not above pulling out Right to Education and Accessibility issues with the prohibition of instruments on the bus when instruments are required for a graded school subject. I would really like to reserve that tactic as a last resort though.




Jelaza

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #36 on: September 30, 2012, 03:34:32 PM »
Re-reading the OP - am I the only one bothered by the fact that the kid was "assigned" the trombone?  In my band days, each kid chose their own instrument upon signing up.  The school has to help out if they assigned an instrument knowing he has no way of bringing it home.

Depends on how the "assigning" process works.  When I signed up for band, I expressed interest in both trumpet and trombone, and they had me try out both instruments, and I was assigned trombone with the explanation that the trombone mouthpiece seemed more comfortable for me to use than the trumpet one.  Could be that the OP's child had the some sort of experience.

Edit: Or, what norrina said
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 03:36:22 PM by Jelaza »

SPuck

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #37 on: September 30, 2012, 04:53:56 PM »
Responding directly to andjoshtoo's experience, if the school/district/board/band director/etc. cannot or will not work with us to find a reasonable resolution to this problem, I am not above pulling out Right to Education and Accessibility issues with the prohibition of instruments on the bus when instruments are required for a graded school subject. I would really like to reserve that tactic as a last resort though.

Well, since you seem aware of your local laws and ordinances. I'd go in with a spine of steel, and use them to your advantage from the beginning. Schools will stall, whether middle, high school, or college, if you let them. The last thing you need is to dance around the issue and half of the year to pass if you take "sweet" stances.

norrina

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2012, 06:32:19 PM »
Responding directly to andjoshtoo's experience, if the school/district/board/band director/etc. cannot or will not work with us to find a reasonable resolution to this problem, I am not above pulling out Right to Education and Accessibility issues with the prohibition of instruments on the bus when instruments are required for a graded school subject. I would really like to reserve that tactic as a last resort though.

Well, since you seem aware of your local laws and ordinances. I'd go in with a spine of steel, and use them to your advantage from the beginning. Schools will stall, whether middle, high school, or college, if you let them. The last thing you need is to dance around the issue and half of the year to pass if you take "sweet" stances.

I don't necessarily have an iron clad legal argument, because the school's most likely counter-argument would be that they are meeting the minimum standard by transporting the children. There doesn't appear to be any precedent regarding the question in my state, so if this were to actually go to court, it could come down either way. People tend to clam up when you threaten them with legal action, so, I'm going to go in trying to get more flies with honey.



norrina

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #39 on: October 01, 2012, 09:28:02 AM »
Mini-Update:
I called the school's Asst. Principal this morning. I told him who I was, and that DSS was in band this year and assigned the trombone, and that he came home last week and told us his bus driver told him he could not bring his trombone on the bus. I let him know that DF and I spoke with the bus driver the next morning, and that she confirmed that she was not allowing instruments other than violin and viola on the bus, and that I had then spoken with the bussing company and they told me it was a school district policy. I said that I would first like to confirm that it was in fact a policy, and that if it was a policy I was concerned about the impediment to participating in music that it presented to the children. The AP had never heard of this policy before, and was very understanding of my concerns. He is going to make some phone calls, and look on the internet for a policy (I'm pretty confident it isn't there, unless it's behind some password protected link), and call me back.

So, nothing is resolved at this point, but I feel good that the AP is looking into and that he appreciates my concerns.



DaisyG

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #40 on: October 01, 2012, 09:30:18 AM »
What strikes me as odd in this situation is that an exception is being made for violins and violas.

It seems odd that a violin would be allowed when another instrument of a similar or smaller size would be banned and I would question the bus company about this. I would guess that a trombone case and a full-size violin case are a similar size, the trombone case may be a bit longer but a bit slimmer. Maybe your DSS would like to measure this to prove a point?

I hope you can get this resolved.

norrina

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #41 on: October 01, 2012, 09:43:41 AM »
What strikes me as odd in this situation is that an exception is being made for violins and violas.

It seems odd that a violin would be allowed when another instrument of a similar or smaller size would be banned and I would question the bus company about this. I would guess that a trombone case and a full-size violin case are a similar size, the trombone case may be a bit longer but a bit slimmer. Maybe your DSS would like to measure this to prove a point?

I hope you can get this resolved.

My youngest brother actually plays violin and viola professionally, and the first thing I did when this came up was asked him about the size difference between a viola and trombone case. He said that a trombone case is much longer.

In looking at the policies of some other districts, a district adjacent to ours requires the student's instrument to fit on his/her lap, and some districts in other states require the student to be able to "control" his/her instrument. To me, the control requirement makes sense, but the lap requirement does not, because DSS could place the trombone upright on the floor, held between his knees, and it would present no more of a safety issue that if it was on his lap, because he can control it. I also doubt that the students are all holding their backpacks on their lap; I know when I was in school we threw them on the floor. If need be though, he could put the trombone on his lap, it would just be stick up about a foot above his head.



magiccat26

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2012, 09:47:22 AM »
Our bus policy actually mentions instruments and "projects".  The policy is that anything that cannot be held in the student's lap (in other words it cannot take up seat space) cannot be brought on the bus and parents are encouraged to find alternate transportation for these items.

With that said, when I was in school, they actually had bins at the back of the bus for instruments.  I wonder if that could be a compromise?
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artk2002

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #43 on: October 01, 2012, 10:10:54 AM »
What strikes me as odd in this situation is that an exception is being made for violins and violas.

It seems odd that a violin would be allowed when another instrument of a similar or smaller size would be banned and I would question the bus company about this. I would guess that a trombone case and a full-size violin case are a similar size, the trombone case may be a bit longer but a bit slimmer. Maybe your DSS would like to measure this to prove a point?

I hope you can get this resolved.

As someone pointed out, a violin or viola case is a lot shorter than a trombone case (trombone case is about 4' long, where a violin is less than 3'.) I'd be interested in knowing what the driver would do with a flute, oboe, piccolo, alto saxophone, clarinet or trumpet. Any of those will have a smaller case than a violin.

School busses normally have cargo space underneath -- it would be a pain for the driver, but the "it won't fit" argument doesn't work in light of that.
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Yvaine

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #44 on: October 01, 2012, 10:19:51 AM »
What strikes me as odd in this situation is that an exception is being made for violins and violas.

It seems odd that a violin would be allowed when another instrument of a similar or smaller size would be banned and I would question the bus company about this. I would guess that a trombone case and a full-size violin case are a similar size, the trombone case may be a bit longer but a bit slimmer. Maybe your DSS would like to measure this to prove a point?

I hope you can get this resolved.

As someone pointed out, a violin or viola case is a lot shorter than a trombone case (trombone case is about 4' long, where a violin is less than 3'.) I'd be interested in knowing what the driver would do with a flute, oboe, piccolo, alto saxophone, clarinet or trumpet. Any of those will have a smaller case than a violin.

School busses normally have cargo space underneath -- it would be a pain for the driver, but the "it won't fit" argument doesn't work in light of that.

Agreed. Picking violins and violas only seems like it's favoring not smaller instruments, but instruments considered more "highbrow," which is just silly.