There's More to Life Than Knitting!

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Monday, September 8, 2008

The Kids on the Bus Go Round and Round


The Kids on the Bus
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Now, don't these look like a bunch of little angels? This is the bus full of mainly 9th and 10th graders that Lee and I are chaperones for during this football and band contest season. This means 15-20 bus rides with a group. I chose this bus because Beccano and his friends are on it, and I know most of them. I also know "how they are" and figure we'd be a good choice to discipline them--a couple of them listen better to me than other perceived authority figures.

They are sweet, very funny and slightly rambunctious, just like most "sophomoric" high schoolers. We enjoy them a lot, and laugh and laugh at them. However, the bus driver on Friday's very long trip to Belton (that is over an hour's ride from here) did not find our kids amusing at all. Unfortunately, he didn't SAY anything until we got almost there. Lee and I did have to ask them to sit in their seats a few times, and the one kid who is the "class clown" (front and center in the photo, the one with the hair) did have to be talked to a bit. But, they were better than they'd been last week, when we had to sit in the rain for 20 minutes!

The driver informed them that they were the worst busload he had ever driven, and that he had recorded every infraction of the rules they had done on his handy bus-cam. He then sternly intoned that they would all be going to "The Rock" for this. (At this point, the kid who actually had already been to "The Rock" turned pale--it's the school where they send the felons, kids with guns, kids who hurt others, etc. I am pretty sure that kid does not want to go back--he is being real good now, and has actually always been a likable kid.) A bunch of the kids looked real nervous--there are some very well behaved and good students in the group! The bus driver claimed someone was using "something that clicked and a flame came out" (for some reason he wouldn't say "lighter"). He said the cameras would tell who did it!

So, a bunch of very scared kids got off the bus--the ones who had been in the back fervently began to tell me all about how they were taking a lot of pictures in the back--could he have seen the flash? I reassured them that if they had indeed done nothing wrong, the camera would have recorded that, too, and to not worry. I had to go tell the chaperone chairs what had happened, and they had already been found by the bus driver before I even got to them. When I told them the kids had been average, and that they said they had been using a camera, they felt it would all blow over.

Still we needed to talk to the band director. While doing THAT, we saw some poor non-band kid getting arrested, because the people at Belton High School MEAN it when they say no student loitering under the stands. He must have stood still too long. Anyway, the band director said it was a bunch of nonsense and he'd take care of it. He said after all I had been through, I'd know bad behavior (yup).

Throughout the game, kids kept asking if things were OK. One poor child was visibly shaking when he said, "Miss Sue Ann, do you think we will really go to the Rock?" I said no, I didn't think so, and I patted him on the back, even though that is against the rules.

And after the game, my son and his friend said they overheard the other bus drivers talking (while putting away the equipment in the trucks) and the other bus drivers said this guy was being "a baby." I honestly think the man over-reacted, and if he had just asked us to tell the kids more forcefully to stay in their seats, or asked them to put away the "cameras," things would have been fine. It's like he was looking for something to report on his camera. These trips are sometimes the only times kids get to hang out with their friends for an extended period of time. To expect them to sit silently and not interact is pushing it. We CAN ask them to stay seated, though.

We had a VERY quiet long bus ride back. Even the Class Cut Up cut it out a little bit.

What I like about the group of kids that Beccano hangs out with is how they treat each other. They know they each are sort of a mess in one way or another (they knew Beccano back during his "troubles") and accept each other as they are. They know the Cut Up just craves attention, so they give him some. They know the kid with the unfortunate incident last year really means well. They know they are tender from parental divorces and other issues. They know the kid who looks Emo and the kid who looks Punk are nice kids with interesting clothing preferences. And they accept each other's varied religious and political backgrounds--there are all kinds of kids in the group. They kid around, they have little spats, but they really stick together. That's the kind of friends that the slightly misfit types really need.

So, all in all, I like the little hooligans. And we beat that other team quite handily, in the football department. Kicker? We don't need no stinkin' kicker--we'll just score lots of touchdowns!

Enjoy my random band photos.

3 comments:

Dragonfly said...

I think they are all lucky to have you guys on their side.

"something clicked and a flame came out"??? Dude, that guy needs something better to do with his time. or a dictionary....

Sylvia said...

Last year, Isaac's orchestra bus was pulled over by the police and all of the kids were pulled off and flashlights shown in their mouths, ostensibly to determine if they had been smoking pot. All this because the bus driver and teacher thought they smelled pot. Power sure does go to folks' heads.

Stephanie said...

Keep sticking up for the misfit teens - they need it! I am sure that you and Lee are a blessing to these kids.

When Kate told me that the kids in her magnet program refer to each other and themselves as the Humanadorks and the Compugeeks, I knew that she had found a nurturing place for misfits. I hope you have seen the last of the power-hungry bus driver and you can get back to the business of giving misfits a safe place to enjoy themselves and each other again.

:-)