Free Cole.

So I read with intrest my favorite child rearing blog today, and came across this story.So this good student, eagle scout named Cole basically drove to school monday, and realized he left his unloaded shotgun in the trunk of his car.  He had two choices at this moment, lock the trunk and go into the school or go to the office and admit his mistake.

Being an honest child, he chose the later.  He went in and asked to leave school and take his shotgun home. I don’t care what the “policy” is, if a straight A student, eagle scout, no trouble kid comes and and says “oops, can I be late to class to fix this” comes in, there is no reason to do what happens next.

Instead of the principal sayind “sure, go home.” he  calls the police.  Now Cole, the model student till Monday, is arrested on felony charges, expelled from school, and won’t graduate.  All because he was honest.

So this is yet another example of “zero tolerance” policy.  The cowardly principal ducked under policy to arrest him.  The cowardly police didn’t look at his locked and unloaded gun and say “don’t do it again.”  Instead everyone said they had “no choice” and arrested this young man all for “doing the right thing.”

This is insane.  Cole should have been given a slap on the wrist, sent home to secure his shotgun, and been left alone.  But, in this day and age of a terrorist under every bush and a mass murderer in every car, the school and the police couldn’t be sensible and help a kid who DID THE RIGHT THING out.

This is the totalitarian USA we now live in.  There is no room for error, no room for circumstance and no room for mistakes.  If you so much as violate the law, however unintentionally, you must be punished.

Never mind that all Cole and his classmates learned is DON’T TRUST ADULTS.  Don’t trust Authority, don’t trust those in charge.  I have to wonder, which is the biggest crime, punishing a good kid who made a mistake, or destroying the trust of hundreds of kids in adults and authority.

Personally, I think it is the later.

Way to go, fucktards.

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In Search of Utopia

I’ll never forget Billy.  We were in class together from First Grade till High School.  We were never friends, but we didn’t hate each other till Fourth Grade.  Something changed in that year that went from two guys with little in common straight to mortal enemies.  School yard fights, trips to the principal’s office and parental involvement.  How did two neutral kids get from tolerance to animosity?  I’m not 100% sure, but I have a theory.

The animosity came to a head in 8th grade in which a fight in the boys locker room ended badly for both sides.  Billy got suspended.  I got detention.  And we never spoke again, but we left each other alone after that.

I’ve no idea where Billy is today.  What is he doing, is he successful, does he have a family?  I tried to find him a few times after graduation, but he’d moved away and disappeared as best as my admittedly limited attempts could tell.  But I won’t forget the nearly four years of bitter hatred we shared.

I’ve never been what you’d call a small person.  I was always two or more inches taller than most of my class, starting in Kindergarten.  My father drilled into me that it was wrong for a larger person to pick on a smaller person, to never fight, and to never use my size to bully people.  Maybe he did too good a job.  I spent a good portion of middle school getting hit and not hitting back.  It wasn’t some of my favorite childhood experiences.

Now as to why Billy and I didn’t get along?  I think it was football.  Which is silly, because I’ve never been a huge fan of the game.  Oh I enjoy watching college ball, and I even played in High School, but I’m not rabid by any stretch of the imagination. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure that football started the war between Billy and I.

From my perspective, it wasn’t football at all, but the Navy.  I loved ships of all kinds but the US Navy had the coolest.  I was pretty obsessed with them.  So in Fourth Grade we had to do an oral report on a biography we read.  I asked the librarian to help me find some famous navy person.  She suggested Roger Staubach.  I found his story of football and service fascinating and devoured the book and delivered, if I may say so, a stunning oral report.

Here in lies the first shot of a war I had no idea was starting.  The unintended consequence of doing a report on one of the Dallas Cowboy’s greatest quarterbacks was the simple fact that Billy lived and breathed Steelers football.

From that day forward, it went from benign tolerance to open hostilities. Simple probing attacks at first, from getting tripped in the hall to name calling during PE.  Then it was waiting for me as I walked home. I remember once when he caught me on the walking bridge over Alders Creek and started pelting me with rocks.  I picked one of them up and threw it back, catching Billy in the eye.  That was the first escalation.

I remember the conversation that occurred at the dinning room table between my parents and his.  How could they raise such a vicious child as myself.  Clearly Billy was “just playing” and I retaliated with more force than needed.  He could have lost his eye.

Truth was, I didn’t aim for his eye, I just threw it back.  When dad asked me why I hit him in the eye, I didn’t admit that.  Instead, I looked him square in the face and said “I have better aim.”  Dad got the message, but I was instructed to “steer clear” of Billy after that.

I’m not 100% innocent in this affair.  My hands are dirty too.  I remember one day on the football field where Billy didn’t seem to be able to put one foot in front of the other.  My taunts were unending and mean.  I justified it because my team, the typical loser in these PE moments, finally won.  But truthful, I was enjoying it far more than simply winning.

By Seventh Grade, the battle between us was well-known.  Others would even instigate it just to see if something would start.  Punches were thrown, although I honestly tried to avoid it.  I ran more than I like to admit, and that seemed to push Billy farther. Principals started noticing, and I was told to avoid Billy as much as I could.  I noticed that after a fight in Sixth Grade, Billy and I were always on opposite ends of the hall by class assignments.

Billy started to get into more and more trouble, and not just with me.  For whatever reason, Billy was full of anger.  He probably needed a friend, but when my Seventh Grade Counselor suggested I try to start one with him, it went badly.  I never forget catching him outside after school and asking him if I could talk for a second.  I apologized for everything I did (and some things I didn’t) do and asked if we couldn’t try to be friends.  He punched me in the face. His friends laughed, right up till Principal Green snatched him up.

My father wanted me to get more exercise and signed me up for Karate in Sixth Grade.  By Eight Grade I wasn’t half bad at it, although I also wasn’t that good.  But that’s where this story ends. I had just performed in a demonstration for assembly at the school of the Karate forms and basic board breaking.  Billy thought it funny.  The next day, he cornered me in the locker room and started kicking me, laughing that I thought I was some sort of expert.  When I say he had me cornered, I mean it literally.  I had no other way out but through him, and he was determined to humiliate me in all ways possible that day.

I’d finally had enough.  His kicks were a joke, and he didn’t defend his body or head at all.  I’d never fought anyone seriously without wearing pads, and even then you pulled your kicks.  I had on shoes and I didn’t pull it at all.  A jump front kick to the chin sent him reeling.  I hate to admit that I can recall almost every blow of that fight.  Billy staggered back and I planted a side kick into his chest that sent him over a bench. He got up and charged me, and was thrown into the lockers for his trouble.  At that moment I had the option to walk away.  He was on the ground, and the exit was clear.  To my shame, I didn’t leave.  To my credit I didn’t mock him.  I just stood there waiting.

He got up.  He had a bloody nose and his face was puffy.  Rage filled his eyes, and he came around  the bench swinging.  Block, punch to the ribs.  Block, bunch to the stomach.  Block, jabs to both eyes.  It was anything but a fair fight.  Since my first kick, he hadn’t landed a finger on me.  He finally went to wrestle me to the ground, and a sweep kick sent him face first to the floor.  Right at the overly large feet of one very intimidating Coach Battle.  The first escalation was over.

For the next 30 minutes I cooled my heels in the coach’s office, sweating bullets over what was going to happen to me.  Coach returned and sat at his desk just looking at me.  It felt like forever but was probably less than ten seconds.  He then asked what happened.

I lost it.  I told him I was tired of Billy picking on me.  That he cornered me.  That he was kicking me and making fun of my taking karate.  That he blocked the exit.  I had no choice but to fight back.

Then he asked the most difficult question any man has ever asked me in my life.  Was there any time in the fight I could have walked away.  My gut screamed no, but my head knew the truth.  Yes, I could.  It took him a good ten or twenty seconds to get up from behind the bench.  I knew then he was hurt.  I knew then I’d won.  That he couldn’t see straight and was hurting meant I could stop anything he tried.  And I was no longer, at least in that moment, afraid of Billy.

So why did I stay?  The coach sat quietly while I thought of a way to answer.  I told him a truth that was more honest than anything I’ve ever done since, and I told him with my eyes full of tears.  I didn’t want it to be over.  I wanted him to quit.  I wanted him to run. I was tired of running.

Coach then sat there a while.  He told me he knew everything already.  He’d seen Billy picking on me and bullying other kids.  He’d talked with the witnesses, Billy’s little troop of malcontents that followed him around.  They didn’t get into the fight because they were stunned anyone would stand up to Billy.  I’d been so intent on avoiding him I had no idea he’d been bullying other kids.  From my point of view I was his only target.

He then told me Billy was fine.  Humiliated, but not seriously injured.  He’d have a couple of black eyes and a swollen jaw, but I hadn’t really hurt him seriously.  Which was lucky, since I could have really hurt him.  He stressed that.  I came close to really doing damage to the kid. (I’m sure that today, I’d have been fighting an assault charge, but back then things were different.)

Coach told me the principal would be calling my folks tonight to talk to them.  That what I did was wrong but not completely unjustified.  That I stood up to a bully, but not in the most practical or correct way.  The principal used this as an excuse to suspend Billy and didn’t feel I needed more than a talking to, but he left the punishment of me up to coach.

Coach got quiet.  He looked me straight in the face and told me that my mistake, the reason he was going to punish me was because I didn’t walk away when I could.  I nodded and knew I was in trouble.  He pulled out his paddle, and my heart sank.  Horror stories of that paddle floated through the school.  We’d all heard him use it on someone, and no one left that office following a paddling without tears in his eyes.

Coach had two hands painted on his desk.  We all knew what they were for, so with fear filling my heart, I stood a put my hands in their spots.  I heard the paddle sing through the air and jumped when it landed, with a thunderous blow, on the desk beside me.  It hit the desk two more times.

Coach then told me to get out of his office.  That tears better be in my eyes.  And if he ever heard of me bragging about this day, I would get the three strokes he just put in the bank for me.

I never got in trouble for fighting again while in school.  Billy never said another word to me and I continued to avoid him.  Some other kids tried to get me to face him again, but I wouldn’t listen.  Billy no longer posed a threat, and while I heard rumors of a payback coming, they never materialized.

Could Billy and I ever been friends?  No, I don’t think that was ever possible.  And all too quickly, the hate between us grew to the point that it could never be repaired or forgotten.  I don’t know what happened to Billy but I hope he’s doing fine.  I hope he found happiness and a good life.  But as long as Billy and I and people like us exist in the world, Utopia is an impossible dream.

It is not just people who destroy the hope for Utopia, but cultures and nations and traditions as well.  The concept of “lasting peace” is a search for Utopia, a place we can not get to without giving up almost all that we are.  It assumes that another culture will embrace us when something as fundamental as your neighborhood pub is cause for violence.  It discards the absolute certainty someone else feels is correct in because what you feel is correct is backed in the reasonable thought of your culture.

Never discount the little things.  I thought Staubach was a pretty neat fellow.  Billy thought he was Cowboy Scum. That brought out four years of violence and hatred. It seems so small, but black eyes, hurt feelings and years of terror make it clear that it was never a small thing.

More School Shinanigans

This is just amazing!! And for more fun, here’s a mugshot! Howdy Eric Lee!

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Merts Center Monitor

Karen Lee, the CEO of the Pinnacle Schools and its wilderness camps, Elk River Treatment Program and Academy, has one hell of a lot of gall. Within days of shopping her programs for turning around the lives of troubled teens to the Huntsville CIty Schools on theevening of December 1, 2011, her two sons were arrested December 9, 2011, in amajor drug trafficking bust:

Four people face charges after a huge drug bust in the Valley. . . Agents said they found 24 pounds of marijuana and more than $37,000 in cash. They also confiscated several weapons. Agents charged Stephanie Porter and Charles Lee, Jr. of trafficking marijuana. Also charged are Eric Lee and Corey McDonald. Their bond is set at a million dollars.

The weapons confiscated included“shotguns and rifles.”

Having two sons busted as major drug traffickers hasn’t changed Karen Lee’s spiel. These are excerpts…

View original post 631 more words

I’m calling Racial Bullsh*t.

I’ve got to call this one.

It’s rare that I see racism in my community, but I’m afraid I’ve found a fine example of it. It actually makes me sad.

See, I love my community, and I nearly cried when a friend and fellow blogger (if someone as haphazard as I can be considered a blogger) praised and defended our little community of diversity. But I’ve found a nasty underbelly of racism that I just can’t leave alone.

It involves the past HCS Superintendent and the new HCS Superintendent.

The previous Superintendent was a black woman. Dr. Moore was many things other than that simple label, but one of the things I didn’t think she ever could be considered was a “good” superintendent. After all, under her watch we became the school system in Alabama with the single largest debt. Not that she worked in a vacuum, but the fact is, by any outside objective method, HCS had plenty of unaddressed problems under her administration.

The new Superintendent is a white man. Again, Dr. Wardynski is so much more than that simple label. I am beginning to believe that he is going to share many things with Dr. Moore, including being a poor Superintendent. But Dr. Moore’s and Dr. Wardynski’s ability (or lack thereof) to lead HCS is not why I’m writing this post.

One of the many complaints that I heard over and over again about Dr. Moore is how bloated the central office became under her tenure. Usually, but not always, this included a reference to her filling it with her own “cronies.” Yet one of the things that Dr. Wardynski shares with Dr. Moore is that he is planning (or already has started) to further increase the size of the central office, hiring even more people… and guess what… they are also his “cronies.”

Yet when Dr. Moore did this, it was bad. Now some of the same people are saying that what Dr. Wardynski is doing is good. And yet, the only difference is that one is a black woman doing it, and the other is a white man doing it.

That, my friends, is racist bullsh*t. And I’m calling people on it from now on.

Segregation or simplicity?

So I have a friend with a child on the autism spectrum. As a father, he’s one of my heroes. We often disagree politically, but not all that often. And he’s caught up in a nasty situation with Huntsville City Schools.

My friends son is not in a regular classroom full time. He is in a classroom designed and staffed for kids with special needs. And from what I hear, the child has made remarkable progress in that classroom.

But the system is in a bind. It is basically broke and looking to save money. One plan to do this is to consolidated special needs children into one of three schools. In many ways it is a simple, elegant plan that might even do what it is supposed to do. Save money.

My first instinct is to say it is a good plan. That saving money in these trying times is what should happen. By lowering the cost of schooling those with special needs then the system can increase spending elsewhere. Or at least maintain current levels.

But really, it isn’t that simple. I’ve also got a son with special needs. Oh his needs aren’t the same, but they are. As a second grader he is reading at fifth grade level and finds typical classroom work beneath him. As a result, he takes up more time in the classroom from the teacher than a more “neurological normal” student.

So what prevents the system from rounding up these time-takers on the higher end of assessment and “saving money” by putting them together in a distant school. Perhaps a school with weak test scores?

The answer is absolutely nothing. Should they do so I’d have little recourse but to accept the fate or make my child attend normal classes.

To some, that might sound like a good plan though. Let my child benefit from advanced schooling and excel. But I don’t want him to just excel at school, I want him to learn to interact with those other kids too. Because when he leaves school, that’s who will be his coworkers and employers.

And ultimately, that’s what my friend wants for his child. It is easy to say that autistic children take up more money or time than “normal” kids. But that’s an excuse. Once you remove them… Segregate them out of the school… Then you’ve got the freedom to look elsewhere for waste that isn’t really waste at all. Maybe my child is next?

It comes down to this. If the school system is allowed to segregate this population out of most schools, what’s next?

So despite my understanding for the simplicity of the plan, I still have to find it wrong and abhorrent. If I don’t stand with my friend as they try to remove his child, who will stand with me when they try to remove mine? Or yours?

For more specific information on what the system is planning visit my friend’s website at Geek Palavar and hear the story in his words.

Schooling and Such

I’m supposed to be signing up for school, but I haven’t been told if I have the money for it yet.  That’s frustrating.  I want to go back to school, but if I don’t have the money, what’s the point?  I’d just be dropping out when I couldn’t pay.  And that would suck.

I’m not 100% sure what I want to do back at school, but it won’t have anything to do with video.  I can’t afford video freelancing anymore.  I don’t have HD equipment and no one wants SD stuff anymore.  My thousands of dollars in SD equipment is now worth nothing.  How frustrating.  It’s even getting harder and harder to find software for SD. Everything is HD.

Sure, I could get a cheap HD camera, but it won’t do for the kinds of things I want to do.  I may get one anyway, just to play with but my video career seems over.  Time to move on to something else.  And for that, school.

So I’m looking for an answer here in the next couple of days.  Decisions must be made.  Classes signed up for.  Things moving forward.  Soon.

Trying Something New

I think we all need to try something new every now and again.  I’m a fan of it, aren’t you?

So in the spirit of trying something new, I’m looking around for a new path.  A new career perhaps?  A new way of getting things done.  And I’m not sure where this new search is headed.

I’m looking at going back to school.  Need to solidify that this next week, but it is a real possibility.  And if I get all the paperwork done correctly, I’ll be going back to school to learn something completely unrelated to anything I’ve ever done in the past.

Something entirely new.

I’m looking at jobs I never thought I’d look at.  Desperation?  Perhaps.  But perhaps it is time to look under a new leaf.

I had a friend who up and quit a decent job to try something new.  His new path has been rocky and unsure, but I can honestly say I’ve never seen him happier.  He quit lots of things he was really really good at to go off and do something he really really wanted.

He’s one of my heroes for that.  He chose it, I’ve had it forced off onto me.  But we have to play the cards life gives us, because leaving the table isn’t an option.

I’ve had a few friends, some quite close, decide to leave the table.  I don’t think it worked they way they intended.  It is messy, it doesn’t ever work the way you intended.  Or at least I hope not.  I’d hate to think my friends intended to leave the mess they did.

So I’m looking down a new path, and right now it has lots of twists and turns.  I’m still not sure where it is taking me, nor am I sure where I’ll end up.  But do we ever?

A Bag for Need

I had the chance to do something really meaningful tonight. I got to pack bags for needy children in the community. And not just any bags, but bags full of food for kids whose only meal may be the lunch they get at school.

The event was at Aldersgate UMC in southeast Huntsville. Church members there supplied the various kinds of “shelf stable” foods, including soup, milk, and treats. Enough for two really good meals or several adequate ones.

The goal was to fill 40 bags, with the intention to provide twenty children at a local school food for the weekend. So that would provide two weekends of food packs.

Volunteers arrived, food stacked up and within 15 minutes the 40 bags were full. Mary, the event organizor, said a prayer and explained this brand new mission. Wendy, a teacher at the school getting help, talked about the students at the school. And the group decided to press on.

In the end, the group filled 60-70 food bags, enough for three weekends. That’s 20 kids who would have gone without over the those weekends who will now have food.

And the supplies were not exhausted. Had more milk been available, more bags could have been filled. So that amazing group of people are set to do more as more supplies come in.

Want to help? Here’s what’s needed. Soup, in individual cans with pop tops, no water needed. The idea is that a child could eat out of the can if needed. Milk, shelf stable so it doesn’t require refridgeration. Those are the two shortest supply items, and without the milk making the bags will be dificult.

My son, the genuis?

Every parent wants to be proud of their child. It is a natural thing, as much pride in the child as in the parental skill used to raise them. So report cards came out yesterday, and I’m feeling rather proud. And if you look at the numbers, my kid is a genius.

Two things came out with this report. Now my son is in kindergarten, so we aren’t talking GPA here. These reports are much more fundamental.

On the report card itself, the kid got straight “S” with one exception. He got an “N” in finishes work in a timely manner. Which makes him mine, the worlds best procrastinator.

With that said, top marks across the board is nice, but fairly common I imagine. It was the other report that has me wondering.

This report, called Dribbles, measures his skill at reading readiness. I’m not going to pretend to understand or remember the catagories this set of tests measures. What I know is the report gives my son’s level of accomplishment measured against a benchmark of where he needs to be at this point in the school year.

I also recognize that those benchmarks are the minimum level of compentance expected, not the maximum expected or even the norm. It is the low mark for the year. Barely passing, if you will.

Of the four graded areas, one is the “final” grade for the year. If the child passes the benchmark at mid-year, then they are no longer tested in that catagory. The benchmark was 25. My son got a 30. So not bad at all.

On the other catagories, his reading skill compared to the benchmark was much wider. On one, the benchmark was 11, and he got a 41. The end of year benchmark is only 35, so he’s already scoring higher than the final benchmark at mid-year.

He did the same on two other catagories, far surpassing the mid-year benchmark and exceeding the year end benchmark. On the most challlenging of. The tasks, he blew through the mid-year mark and just missed the year end mark by a couple of points.

So looking at these marks, I’m tempted to jump to the conclusion that my son is a genuis. But I have to remember a few things.

First, this test measures reading readiness, and he is reading. Not theological papers, but maybe he’ll start next week.

Second, his mother and I read like books are food. He grew up watching us devour books like a fat man eating pringles. He picked up our love of reading very early and has had access to books from the first day he was with us.

Third, his mom is a kindergarten teacher. And while she hasn’t been blaten about it, she has been “teaching the test” since day one. I’m not suggesting that she’s been cheating and training him just to pass these tests, but since she knows how the test works, she has taught him reading in the same manner as the tests, instead if fumbling through it like other parents.

With those three things in mind, I must temper my jump to genuis for him. His mom keeps saying she wants a middle of the road kid, but at least for now she’s gotten a top of the class one.

But all is not rosey. My kid is weird. I mean out there weird. Like loud noises send him into convulsions, sharp words bring on tears, and he is an overly sensitive soul. He is always working on a plan, which usually involves a way to get out of whatever he is supposed to be doing.

Wait a minute. My son is wicked smart, always scheming, and a little weird. He’s not a genuis, he’s an evil scientist trying to take over the world.

God help us.

School bus mayhem

I’ve had a bad day thanks to the school bus system in Huntsville and I feel a little guilty over it. After all, the system provides bus service at no cost to me. (insert tax rant here) I’m also aware that the bus service has had a rocky start. So getting upset over this as me felling a little guilty.

At least when I started the process. Now I’m just pissed.

The bus is supposed to be at our stop at 7:13.  It can be a few minutes early if things are going well, but the time is 7:13.  The buses here have had a few problems, so we weren’t upset when the time got push back to 7:15 because they’d added another stop before ours.

Now I know nothing I ever do is typical, so in typical fashion my morning is atypical.  We must get the daughter to daycare BEFORE we get the son to the bus stop.  This means we actually drive past my son’s school (but too early to drop him off) before taking him to his bus stop.  Some days we’re a little late, and we’ve been averaging getting to the stop around 7:10, supposedly 5 minutes before the scheduled stop.

And yet, more often than not we’ve been forced to take our son to the NEXT stop on the route because we’ve missed the bus.  Which got a little confusing.

So yesterday, we miss the bus (again) and chased it down at the next stop.  Where the driver gets out and yells at us for missing the bus and how we are supposed to be at our assigned stop at our assigned time and how our stop time is 7:07 and we need to be there on time.  Oh and by the way, she’s turned us in to the bus office and they’ve been trying to call us and talk to us about that.

Huh?  I’m part of the growing population of people who have ditched their land lines in favor of cell services.  So I’ve got my “home phone” with me all the time.  Had they tried to call, I’d know it.

So the first thing I did at work yesterday was call up the provider of bus transportation, Durham School Services. As you can see in the gallery image below, my first call of the day to Durham was at 8:18 AM.  I didn’t get the name of the person answering the phone, but all I wanted was the time the bus was supposed to be at our bus stop and why they wanted to talk to me.  They couldn’t answer either of those questions, and told me they’d call me back after 9:30 when the drivers are in.

As you can see from my call log, I called them back at 9:57.  This time Betty answered the phone, and she ingnored my initial questions concerning my earlier call, and instead tried to start from scratch asking me where I lived and whatnot.  The interesting thing I learned was that the bus is scheduled in their computers as being at the stop at 7:13.

When I finally got through to her what I wanted to know, Betty informed me that she needed to talk to the driver, who was in a meeting.  She dutifully took my number, again, and promised to call back when she’d spoken to the driver.

When she hadn’t called by nearly one, I called again (The 12:40 call in the call log below).  That’s when I discovered that the driver wasn’t in a meeting at all, but wasn’t in.  She wouldn’t get a chance to talk to the driver until 1:30.  So I assumed that I would get a call at 1:30, and asked her if my assumption was true.  She assured me that it was and all would be solved at 1:30.

As you can see in the call log, I had to call at 2:12.  Yea, Betty forgot to call me back even though I’d expressed extreme concern over the fact that so far I hadn’t gotten a single callback I’d been promised and my distress over the fact that I’d been lied to about the nonexistent meeting. So I called again.  Betty seemed surprised that I called back and put me on hold for almost 5 minutes.  She parroted the time of 7:07 AM that the driver gave us earlier.  She also had no idea why the driver told us that the company had been trying to get in touch with us.

I wasn’t really happy with the answer I got.  I still didn’t know why the company was allegedly trying to contact me.  I still didn’t feel confident that the bus was really supposed to be at the stop by 7:07.  And I was confused why getting some fairly straight answers was becoming so difficult.  Betty suggested I talk to the manager.  I agreed.

Twenty minutes on hold later, someone other than Betty picks up the phone and asks who I’m holding for.  I say the manager and am quickly informed that the manager is not there.  I got a little hot under the collar at this point, still unhappy with what I’d been told and more specifically what I’d not been told.  I may have vented a little here.

I was shuffled off to the manager’s voice mail, and figured that was it.  I wasn’t going to get an answer at all.  But to my surprise and delight, as you can see in the other picture below, the manager called me back at 2:40.  I expressed my displeasure at my customer service experience with his company that day, and still wanted to know what the real scheduled time for that bus stop was.

To his credit, he apologized for the poor customer service, told me that he would check things out and would call me back in less than ten minutes.  According to my call log for his calls, it had to be less than three.  At 2:49 he calls again, and tells me that the computer has the stop scheduled for 7:13 but that the driver has been getting there at 7:07. And he had no idea why she said the company was trying to call us, since he would be the one that would call and he didn’t know anything about it.

He was trying, I’ll give him that.  Apparently it is very hard for them to get word to parents when a bus stop schedule changes.  They have specific channels they have to go through, and it take time to get word to parents about the change.  Old kids get told by the driver, but telling a 5 year old something like that at 7:07 in the morning and expecting them to remember it and pass it on to their parents at 4PM is a little beyond reality.  It was clear he thought he’d done what he needed so I got off the phone.

But I wasn’t real happy with his responses, because they are dumber than dumb.  Look, I’m not a rocket scientist, but I can figure out how this should work.  If the bus driver has a scheduled time to be at a stop, then the driver should be at the stop at that time.  If traffic and the driving gods are in your favor, and you arrive at a stop early… stay at the stop until your appointed time.  How hard is that?  Then guess what… you’ll be at your next stop ON TIME!  Wow!

And if your running late because traffic is against you, pick up the kids who are there and move on.  Again, this isn’t rocket science.

Since the year began, our Son has been late to school at least once, but we think twice, because the bus ran late, even though the bus made our stop on time.  Even early.  My wife is a teacher at a different school and if her experience is the norm, many buses are running late.  So I get trying to push up the schedule and make things move along quickly.  But not without telling the parents first.

And this new bus company is supposed to have GPS trackers on their buses.  They should be able to tell us the average time they arrive at each stop.  But they can’t.  Which makes me wonder why they have GPS on the buses to begin with.

And for the record.  The bus arrived at 7:13 this morning.  I think a little charting of the actual arrival time is in order.