It’s a system we don’t give much thought to — until something goes wrong.
That’s exactly what happened on a Grand Haven Area Public Schools bus last week, as a young girl failed to get off at the proper stop, leading to a very tense half-hour for the girls’ family before the situation was resolved.
Anytime a situation like this occurs, people feel the need to point fingers and assign blame, but it’s not that easy.
The driver of the bus was a substitute who did not know all of the children on the bus, as a regular driver would.
Some of the other children on the bus actually complicated the situation by telling the mother that her youngster had gotten off at an earlier stop.
The fact is, in Grand Haven alone, school buses deliver more than 4,000 children to and from school each day. If the worst thing that happens is that, occasionally, a child mistakenly gets on the wrong bus, forgets to get off at the proper stop, or falls asleep and doesn’t get off the bus at all, then we as parents should feel fortunate.
It’s clear that our children are in good hands.
The busing system charged with transporting our children has an excellent safety record. And, over the past several years, that system has been tweaked to make it even safer for young children.
Years ago, kids were simply dropped off at their assigned bus stop, regardless of age. Today, the youngest passengers on the bus must be greeted by a parent or guardian at the bus stop. If no one is there to receive their Young 5 or kindergartner, then those youngsters aren’t allowed to get off the bus.
It’s easy to point fingers at bus drivers when a child doesn’t arrive at their drop-off spot as expected. But consider what school bus drivers have on their plate. They’re operating a huge, bulky bus — often at the busiest traffic times of the day — all the while trying to maintain order of a few dozen youngsters on their way to or from school.
It’s a thankless job, and one that comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility. The fact that they do their job so well day-in and day-out should be commended.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.