|We made a special crown for her to don in honor of her official title. ;)|
Against my better judgment, my husband and I had decided after that first day of school that we would continue sending our 6th-grade daughter home on the bus in the afternoons. We soon found out; however, that there is another flaw in the bus system - the routes are so over-crowded with students that there is not room on one bus for all of the students at each stop. So, instead of adjusting the routes and the bus system accordingly, they only allow the first twenty students on the bus at each stop, and then send a late bus around for the stragglers. I know - it's ridiculous. I didn't want her to have to fight her way onto the bus every morning, nor did I want her standing around at the bus stop after the first bus took off (leaving her unsupervised for an unknown amount of time, and exposing her to who knows what else), so we started driving her to school in the morning.
I would pick her up in the afternoon as well, but she gets out of school right in the middle of the babies' nap time, and I hate to disturb their MUCH-needed sleep - just to pile them in the car and drive over to her school. And according to my husband, "it builds character" for her to persist in riding the bus after what happened on the first day. So, basically, she has still been taking the bus home in the afternoons - and yes, the drama just keeps on coming.
Anyway, the Las Vegas valley got hit really badly with a horrible rain storm one day last week, and there were flood watches all over the county. That afternoon, I drove to the bus stop to pick her up, thinking she wouldn't want to walk home in the rain. When the first bus showed up and she wasn't on it, I just figured she had to catch the late bus home and that it would be arriving shortly.
I waited and waited, but the second bus never arrived. I thought maybe I had somehow missed her, so I left the stop and drove back to the house to see if she was there. Naturally, she was nowhere to be seen, so I started to panic, thinking to myself, "Not again!"
As before, the stinker did not have her cell phone (she had left it at my mom's house across town the previous weekend), so I couldn't call her. I figured I would get back in the car and drive up to the school to see if I could find out more about her whereabouts.
As I was on my way out the door; however, a car pulled up to the front of the house and Madison got out. You can imagine my relief (and my curiosity as to why in the world she was getting out of a car and was not on the bus) as she walked across the yard in my direction.
Apparently, the bus had broken down a few blocks from the school and was smoking so badly that the driver pulled the bus over and told the kids to get off. So, there the kids were - standing out in the rain - and I guess some of them decided just to start walking. ::smack my head::
I guess at that point, the bus driver was no where to be seen, and she (my daughter) didn't know what the protocol was from there - if there was another bus coming, if they were supposed to walk back to the school, or what. She decided not to walk back to the school; though, after her friend commented on how flooded the school grounds had been when they left, so instead, the two of them started walking home - in the rain - with no phone, and really no certainty as to where they were even going.
She said her friend knew how to get to the bus stop from the school, so they were planning to walk there, then continue on home from the stop. Let me just say; though, that they would have passed both of our houses (her friend's and ours) had they actually had the opportunity to execute that plan, not to mention how nuts I would have been in not knowing where she was for all the time it would have taken them to walk the two miles (in the rain, where the flooding was so bad in some spots that the water was up to their knees) from the school. I mean, come on! I thought we had learned not to leave the bus when 1.) it's not your assigned stop; and 2.) you aren't 100% certain where you even are, or how to get home. ::sigh::
Luckily, a friend of mine (whose twin boys go to her school) was driving home and saw her walking. Knowing how far it is from the school to our house, he pulled over (thank heavens) and asked her if she wanted a ride home.
I AM extremely grateful that (once again) we were lucky in the fact that nothing bad happened, and that she is safe, but I certainly do not remember being so oblivious at that age, nor do I recall there being so much dysfunction with regards to the school's bus system - and I rode the bus to and from school from 4th - 6th grade.
The moral of the story is that the convenience of having her ride the bus home is just NOT worth the agony - and I am currently in the process of arranging a car pull with some friends in my ward whose kids also go to her school. Also, I don't know what needs to happen, but something MUST transpire in order to knock some common sense into that child's head. ::sigh::
Middle School Mayhem: The day my heart stood still!
Tales of a 6th-grade drama queen