School Bus Vs. Private Transportation

My best friend and I have joked about this for years. Amy thinks that school busses are the best thing ever and even a necessity in life. I hate school busses and am thrilled that my school district doesn’t offer them. Amy would never live anywhere that didn’t offer bus service.

Amy and I both lived in Burlington and were preparing to move around the same time right as the children were hitting school age. I moved to Fort Thomas. That was a no brainer for me since I was from the area and wanted my kids to attend Fort Thomas schools. Amy, being from Louisville and having a husband who works in Norwood, was a little more flexible… sort of. She was looking by school district with Fort Thomas Schools and Indian Hill Schools being her top picks. Of course we wanted to live close to each other but I could tell that something was holding her back from pulling the trigger on Fort Thomas.

She kept mentioning that we didn’t have school busses. I couldn’t imagine this was a real concern since everyone lives within a mile of their elementary school and four or five miles of the high school. She talked about not wanting to have to get dressed in the mornings (I take my kids in my pajamas quite often). She kept going on and on about the convenience of busses. But then it finally came out… she was worried about parking because frankly, she sucks at it. Apparently, Amy can’t parallel park, back out of a parking spot or get out of a tight spot. I constantly ask how she passed her driver’s test. LOL

I offered to teach her to do these things because I couldn’t imagine putting my kids on a bus so I didn’t want her to either. You are probably wondering why I am so anti bus. Where to begin…

I attended a Catholic grade school and had to take a public school bus. We lived pretty far out so I walked a half mile to the bus stop and grabbed the first bus. It dropped off us off at a public middle school where we waited to catch another bus to our school. Going home was the same in reverse. I remember the high school and middle school kids on the bus and at the public school being mean to us. They would tease us about our uniforms, religion and anything else they could think of. My friend K always looked a little sad so they played on that. They would sing “Cry Baby, Cry Baby, Cry Baby Cry” to her every day. And guess what; she would cry. They would approach our table pretending to be nice and then suddenly do something mean like knock our stuff on the ground. I remember one older boy being extremely creepy. He would tell me he was my uncle (he wasn’t) and just say really inappropriate stuff. I remember being a little scared. My older brother usually kept the creeps away but he must not have been around.  The monitors could have cared less what was going on.

I took bus 57 to school. My driver’s name was Linda and I’m pretty sure we didn’t have a monitor. How do I remember this all these years later? I remember because Linda was terrifying! She was so mean. You could literally be five feet from the door and she would leave you. She would scream at everyone as soon as you walked up the steps to the bus.  The screaming would get worse if we didn’t move to the isle way fast enough, as there were never any seats left for us so we just stood.  My older cousin Jessica took the bus with us. She apparently wasn’t walking fast enough for Linda one day so she pulled Jess up the steps by her shirt and actually ripped it. I’m not even sure what happened next. I was horrified.

I remember also learning about the birds and the bees and every cuss word in the book on that bus. Kids ranged from kindergarten to 12th graders. The bullying on the school bus obviously hasn’t stopped.  We have all heard the story about the bus monitor who was bullied to tears by students.

Some of my friends and I decided to start walking to and from school any time we could to avoid the mean kids and the crazy bus driver. It was 3.1 miles but it was worth it to avoid that terror.

My children have been on a bus for field trips. I have to say I’m not impressed with the way most drivers control the large vehicle and how fast they speed. Now it seems that we read about a bus crash or a bus driver who put the kids in danger at least once a month. In fact, there was a wreck involving a school bus in Cincinnati on Wed., Aug. 22. There was another crash in Campbell County just the week before. You can find a whole list of stories regarding bus crashes on WCPO’s website.  A quick Google search will also show a lot of results for bus drivers who drive drunk and bullying on the bus.  And of course there is the issue with other drivers ignoring the fact that there is a school bus on the road. This story states that there were 1,627 school bus-related crashes in Kentucky last year, resulting in 506 injuries and five deaths. Most of these happened because of inpatient drivers.

I’m sure now you can understand why I am just fine with having to drive my kids to school every day, letting them walk when needed, taking a ride from a high school kid who we know, parallel parking, backing out of spaces and even maneuvering tight spots (I love you Amy). I wish that Amy would have given up the convenience of a school bus and moved to Fort Thomas but I’ll just tease her about it until she finally wakes up and lets me teach her to park. J

Are you a fan of the school bus or private transportation?

Where does Kid on Kid Violence End?

I know this post is going to stir up a lot of emotions and we might not all agree on what I have to say but that’s okay. As you might know, I worked as a reporter for 10 years. I had to write stories about the Ryle student who killed his family and then held his class hostage and the shooting at Columbine School. I remember everyone talking about both of these incidents for weeks after. The Ryle student shocked the community and the Columbine incident shocked the nation. Many other incidents have happened since.

Now three children have died, and two were injured, at Chardon High School near Cleveland, Ohio, only a few hours from my home town and I don’t hear anyone but the media talking about it. Are we so immune to this type of stuff now that we don’t even discuss? Or are we so mortified that this could happen that we try to not to think about it?

The media keeps bringing up whether or not the kid was bullied. Did bullying drive T.J. Lane to do this? And if he was bullied, does it really justify opening fire on other children? Lane did not even attend Chardon, instead attending nearby Lake Academy, which is for students with academic or behavioral problems. So was he choosing to be around people who were allegedly bullying him? People he could have avoided. And how did someone who is not a student enter this school with a gun and knife on him? That truly concerns me. I would hope someone who is not a student would not be able to enter my child’s school.

My daughter was hit several times by a boy in the fourth grade. I do not believe the schools did everything they could and I was outraged by this boy hitting my child. However, my daughter never thought once to turn to violence. I was so frustrated at one point that I gave her permission to just clock him (she’s frisky for as little as she is) but she refused. My son gets teased from time to time because he is much more of an intellectual than an athlete. However, I have given him the skills and words to deal with this. For example, if a child picks on him for not throwing the ball as far as someone else, he might just say “well I’m glad you can throw the ball far, but I’m not sure how much that will help you when I’m your boss in 15 years.”

I realize bullying can get intense and cause children to want to commit suicide or hurt the one doing the bullying. Parents definitely need to teach their child not to bully. However, we as parents are responsible to teach our children how to deal with this. And it is our responsibility to make the schools accountable. So many schools want to ignore the issue but they must deal with it or it can elevate to school violence or suicide.

I sometimes wonder if the schools don’t do everything they should because bullying has become such a common word and is used to describe any type of confrontation between kids. In this article,, Rhandi Morrison’s mother claims Rhandi was bullied. She was injured in a fight and had to go to the ER. However, Rhandi called the other girl a name and then was hit. Is that really bullying or is that just a high school girl fight? I really want to know what you think. I have taught my children not to talk about other people (even when their friends are) and to not name call. I have also explained that if they do, they better be willing to deal with how the other child takes it. I hope my kids listen for their sake.

I have taught my kids to always stand up for themselves with their words and for their friends. My son often comes home and tells me about a boy in his class who is teasing other kids. He knows that I will immediately ask if he stood up for them. I encourage him to tell the boy that it isn’t nice or ask him why he is bullying the other child.

I have often found that some children, especially girls, don’t even realize they are bullying until they are called out on it. I don’t think most kids go to school and think “I should bully Suzy today.” So teach your kids to call them out on it! If they are made aware at a young age, maybe they will quit doing it before things get ugly. It also seems that the schools have bullying seminars but they only discuss how to deal with bullying. Parents and schools need to talk to kids about not being a bully.

Family Friendly Cincinnati ( and WLWT ( have posted great stories on bullying.

Many, including Lane’s family, are saying the incident at Chardon High School had nothing to do with bullying. So did Lane just choose to kill that day for no reason? CNN reported that Lane’s household was one filled with violence and that both of his parents had been arrested for domestic violence. His father had also been charged with assaulting a police officer and served time in prison after trying to suffocate a woman by holding water flowing from a hose over her mouth and nose so she could not breathe. Filing for divorce from the teen’s mother in 2002, his father was charged with attempted murder, felonious assault and kidnapping. Lane has been charged with assault before. So instead of people saying he killed because he was bullied, should they be saying he killed because he was taught violence was okay?

It looks as if 17-year-old Lane is going to be charged as an adult. I completely agree with this decision. He is an avid hunter, which makes me assume that he knows a little about gun safety, which includes not taking a gun to a school. He got a gun, then walked or drove to a school he does not attend, walked in and shot a group of boys. One boy was trying to get away and he gunned him down. This was premeditated murder. Thank goodness for the gym teacher who chased Lane out of the school. Otherwise, more could have been killed or injured.

The front of Chardon High School

And at what point will the parents be held liable? They taught this teen that violence was okay. Mothers, we teach our daughters how to treat men and how they should be treated. Fathers, you treat your daughters how they should be treated and how your sons should treat women. We also teach our sons how they should be treated. If you beat your spouse or children, you are teaching your child that is okay. If you verbally abuse your spouse or children, you are teaching your child that is okay. This also applies to parents who are divorced. If you constantly talk down to the mother or father of your child, whether you are married or not, you are teaching your kid it is okay to be talked to that way. I don’t know if Lane’s parents should face prison time for what their almost adult son did but parents need to take ownership of their role in these kinds of situations.

This also has me thinking of gun safety again (see previous blog: Some say guns don’t kill, people do. I say people can’t shoot someone dead without a gun. I’m not saying no one should ever be allowed to have a gun. I just think we need stricter guidelines.

So why don’t I see anyone talking about this tragedy on Facebook, hear my co-workers talk about it at lunch or my friends asking me if I heard? Why aren’t we talking about how the rest of the kids who were there that day, the other two shot and those who witnessed it, are going to deal with this for the rest of their lives? It truly seems like everyone, but the media, is acting like it didn’t happen. This is a terrible thing that impacts everyone no matter how close you live to Cleveland, Ohio. It shows us that this can happen in any school. Someone who doesn’t even attend the school can just walk in and gun people down. What are we going to do about it to ensure nothing like this happens again?

Please share your thoughts. It is okay if we all have different opinions, just be respectful.

Sick Kid = Stressed Mom

We had a great weekend! We got a lot done around the house. The kids cleaned up the yard and raked leaves. One of my good friends and I did a lot of interior painting to the new house. We also got a few things set up to make it feel a little homier. Friends and neighbors joined us on the deck Saturday night for a fire and a glass of wine. We grilled out with friends on Sunday and enjoyed the football game, even though the Bengals came up short. It was the perfect fall weekend.

However, my little boy is now paying for the all the time outside, especially the fire, leaves and grill. He is congested and his asthma is flaring. He was up half the night coughing, which meant I was up half the night listening to him cough. He’s had to use his inhaler and take breathing treatments through the nebulizer. I stayed home with him today to keep a close eye on him.

I honestly think I would rather deal with a broken bone or other injury than an asthma flare up. It’s extremely stressful for the child and parent. Since he is almost 10, he is definitely aware that he is having a difficult time breathing, which makes him nervous. I am stressed because my baby is congested, coughing and having a hard time breathing. It’s very scary. I used to run to the doctor every time he had a cough but we have learned to manage the asthma at home over the years and visit the doctor as needed.

Although he attends an excellent school with great teachers and administrators, it is hard to send him to school when he’s congested even if the asthma seems to be under control. Honestly, it’s hard to even let him visit grandma or be with anyone other than me. I just worry so much that I prefer to watch over and make sure he gets the breathing treatment immediately if needed. So, I’m not sure if he will return to school and I will return to work tomorrow. I hate for either of us to miss but his health is my priority.

Do you have a child with asthma or other health issue that stresses you out? How do you deal with it? How do you help your child understand and manage the health issue?