Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What's Wrong With A Yellow Dog?

Yellow dog - A slang term referring to a school bus.

Okay, this is another one of my rants about when I was young, we did things this way type of deals. When I was young, (stop laughing), I would guess that 85% of the students in my school rode a bus. We would get up early, make our way to the bus stop, hop on and sit two-to-a-seat on the way to a day of school. This was done to-and-from school for 10 years for me. Eventually, I got old enough to drive and chauffeured myself the last two years of high school.

Fast forward to 2011. I have no way of verifying this, but based on what I'm seeing, I think it's safe to say that 85% of kids don't ride the bus these days. How do I know? Because every day, I sit behind a line of cars and minivans dropping off their kids at a nearby elementary and middle school.

(start rant here)

What's wrong with the bus? Is your child too good to ride the bus? Are you one of those parents who think that removing your child from the real world is some how protecting them? Now, if your bus happens to be over-crowded, then I can understand not subjecting your kid to that. But, don't think that it won't some how cause some animosity with the kids who do ride the bus. Kids will hate on other kids who are different. Bullies may ride the bus, but they will still see your child at school and could harass them for being too good for the bus.

Can someone explain to me, a non-parent, why so many kids don't ride the bus?

If I'm barking up the wrong tree on this, then tell me. I can admit when I'm wrong and I know that there are exceptions to every rule. But, I just don't see why half of my hometown sits in front of the school, blocking traffic, as I go to work daily.


  1. Because we live in an over-bearing society that lives in fear, paranoia and above all else, self-convenience. But then again, a lot has changed in 25 years and it's sad.

    Most of my 17/18yo students didn't know how to take public transport into the city. THIS is a basic life skill, people!

  2. Ugh, I live across the street from a school and those parents are always taking up the whole street while they sit in their cars with the motors running while they wait for their little brats.

    I walked to school every day. When I was in high-school I took the subway. Kids these days ain't shit lol.

  3. @ Lady E - That's exactly my point. Kids don't know simple life lessons because the parents take it out of the equation.

    @ Tsaritsa - LOL @ your last sentence! I guess you just summed up my blog post in a sentence. LOL! Seriously, I think some parents make it harder on them.

  4. I blame the media for the over hyping of every bad thing that happens in society... crime rates might fall but fear of crime is always being hyped - fear sells and everyone likes to believe in the good old days

  5. @ G - You're right about that. Fear does sell. They do it in the media and in politics and we, the people, buy into it every single time.

  6. is when I tell you to STOP THE PRESSES! I'm fixin' to weigh in with my opinion of opposite...

    I am a parent. I also rode a school bus for all of elementary school and junior high. I walked to school during HS. Bus riding was no big thang back in the day.

    I, however, am one of "THOSE" parents you are complaining about - driving my 7-year old to school every morning bc I abso-fucking-lutely RFEFUSE to put him on a cheese wagon every day. Why? Lemme tell you why:

    1. Cheese wagons come at the butt crack of dawn. I get at least 45 more minutes of sleep by NOT putting my kid on the bus.

    2. There are fucking CAMERAS on school buses now...if there are cameras, then that means shit goes on that needs to be captured, in the event that it needs to be reviewed in a court of law. THAT in and of itself is enough to cause pause and make me question letting my kid ride the cheese wagon. Stuff goes on in the cheese wagon these days that didn't used to happen back in OUR day.

    3. I AM paranoid. Nothing is as simple as it was back in the day. I am afraid of my kid waiting at the bus stop. I am afraid that my kid will get caught up in some stupid situation on the school bus (whether he is the "victim" or the "perpetrator") and some stupid camera angle from the on-board video cam won't be able to prove shit (exonerating OR convicting).

    4. The fact that kids "ain't shit" today is our own fucking fault. We promote not having "thick skins" (i.e., "coping skills") and in today's day and age, kids have instant gratification on their minds. They want things RIGHT NOW. They have no ability to delay gratification. I find myself FOREVER telling my hooligan, "Yo! You'll get it when I'M ready to get it for you...until then, cool your jets!" or "Huh. LIFE is not fair, homie...get used to it." I keep trying to promote my kid having a calloused ass so that he is not so friggin' sensitive to every little thing that doesn't go his way. But, short of handing him a piece of sandpaper to scrape his ass up with - it's not so easy to do when everything else he is exposed to promotes the opposite.

    Have you heard that commercial about bullying? "Tell an adult if you see someone getting bullied. And if that adult doesn't listen...then go to another adult...keep on till you find an adult who DOES listen!" Loosely translated: keep inserting yourself into people's asses till you get what you want. THAT is the message we send to our kids. Yes - persistence is good - in certain instances (like telling an adult about something wayyy wrong going on) - but for every day existence? Nope. Kids need to learn some friggin' patience and what the hell a "chill pill" is.

    And I know this is gonna sound just RAW...but if folks with big opinions about kids HAD kids...they would get what I'm saying. (*and I say this openly admitting that before I had kids, I did a lot of pontificating about what was WRONG with kids and their parents...only to find myself eating a lot of crow once faced with trying to parent my own hooligan!)

    You know I still loves me some Q...but I DID have to say my piece, homie!! LOL

  7. Um, what Reck said. I wish my boys lived with me from time to time... they're being coddled too much, and will easily fall within this 'spoiled' realm when they're of school age.


  8. @ Reck - You know I appreciate your honesty and there's no love lost for your opinion. Here comes the "but." But, I do think that the only reason things have changed is because parents have changed. It's true that there are some things that happen on buses now that didn't happen when I was a kid, but because those things are handled differently now, it's now an issue. If parents remained consistent, these problems may not be as bad or even exist. Also, removing a kid from that environment doesn't afford that child learning certain life lessons and it doesn't fix whatever the problem is in the first place. As much as parents want to be there for their kids, they can't be at all times.

    As for 'if people without kids had kids, they'd think differently,' you know I'm going to disagree with that, too. I don't think someone has to have a kid to know how to deal with them. Male doctors have flawlessly delivered babies and I know none of them have ever been pregnant. The fact that I was once a kid and mix in the fact that I pay attention to details pretty well, makes me feel as if my opinions are substantial (although I admit that I'm not always right).

    So, although I respect the list of reasons that you gave me, I honestly wouldn't let any of those deter me from allowing a kid an early opportunity at independence. If something goes horribly wrong, then maybe I'd reconsider, but not until.

    @ Idaho - I know you'd love to be able to give your boys some man training. Hopefully, some day they will get an opportunity to stay with you.

  9. My kids have been taking the bus since they started high school.
    Ours arent yellow though.

    Worse thing that I know has happened was the bus being late a couple of times. Oh and kiwi fruit and deodorant fights

  10. Q, I have no doubt that you would be ten million times more trustworthy and qualified to raise a child than most nimrod/absentee parents out there. You are definitely an exception to the rule. But, I don't think that the only reason things are different is that parents have changed. TIMES have changed. Technology is making things a bitch in some parenting aspects. And attitudes, values and morals have changed. It isn't just parents whose attitudes, values and morals have changed - because non-parents contribute to that in society as well. I feel sad that my son will never know the kind of "freedom" I had when I was his age - to be able to go outside and ride bikes all around and stay out all day long (during the summer) - no cell phones to "check in" - but I am not willing to risk that "something" going horribly wrong. Last year, I had some parents from a nearby neighborhood come by - they were going door to door - because their son (who goes to my son's school, but is a few years older) was missing. They were handing out fliers. They are decent people - and if you saw the look of terror in their eyes, it would make you NEVER want to let your kid out of your eyesight. THAT is where the paranoia comes from, at least for me.

  11. @ Mynx - Deodorant fights? Can you elaborate on that? LOL!

    @ Reck - I get that, but I actually think technology makes it easier to keep up with kids. My life as a kid would have been much easier with a cell phone rather than having to check in with mom in-person every hour. But, like Lady E said in the first comment, I think fear plays a huge role in things these days. There are a lot of weirdos out there. There have always been a lot of weirdos out there, but because of today's media being 24/7, we know more about it these days.

  12. I have no kids, but I know a little about this issue.

    My sister is 15, but she just recently started taking the bus last year. Before then, my parents were nervous about her walking to the bus stop at the crack of dawn when it was still really dark outside.

    If I did have kids, I would be skeptical about the school bus. I was terribly bullied on the bus as a child. Getting on that bus every morning was a complete nightmare. The other kids were so incredibly cruel. Just the thought of my non-existent child going through that hurts my little heart.

  13. @ Tiffany - I get that. I had a run-in with a bully on the bus as well. It took me standing up to him and risking a beat down, but he didn't call me on my bluff. Everyone has a different style of parenting and that's why I put out the disclaimer about 'barking up the wrong tree.' But, all I can do is go by my personal experience from my childhood and the friends around me. I'm sure my parents were scared, too, but I guess they figured it's best for me to learn how to deal with adversity early in life than have to bail me out later in life. Not to say that's always the case.

  14. I didn't ride the bus until I was in high school. I didn't have horrible experiences but the entire school system was different then.

    How you feel about this situation really depends on the area in which you live. Before we moved we didn't even consider letting our school- aged children to ride the bus. We had no confidence in the bus driver's ability to handle any negative situation that may have occurred.

    I think there has been a breakdown of the village mentality. I think parents could be more cavalier about kids back then because they knew that adults would appropriately mediate the situation if need be. I don't feel very confident that's the case now.

    My children have plenty of opportunities to navigate the intricacies of childhood just not on the school bus.

    We know that we can't shelter our four children from all possible negativity but we don't feel the need to put them in that situation.

  15. @ mrssays - That's very well said. And I'm not saying anyone in the comments who don't agree with me are wrong. Things are situational and I get that. I think the most important thing you said is that we've lost the "village mentality." We just protect our own and have lost interest in guiding other kids because of fear from parent backlash. Instead of getting a "thank you" from a parent for advising their child, you may get cursed out for "overstepping."

  16. I haven't seen this response yet, so I'll put my two cents in. As a kid, I could walk to grammar school, and I took the city bus to high school. Now, I live in a safe suburb where many kids ride the bus. From what I know about the bus drivers, they are awesome!

    Our family lives too close to the school to ride the bus, so we walk. If you live within .5 miles of school, you don't qualify for the bus unless you pay. So parents drive kids to school, especially if there are busy streets with no crossing guards on the way to school or cold temps.

    Also, school districts in our area are changing. They are running out of money. They now charge money for kids to ride the bus, even when they qualify to ride the bus. (i.e. live farther away than .5 miles.) In our district, the fee is $150/year, but in a neighboring district, the fee is $450/year. In this tight economy, people just can't afford to spend that kind of money, and so they drive their kids to school instead.

  17. @ Ginny Marie - This is new to me. I had no idea of this and I can definitely understand why this would be a deterrent for parents. Paying for a ride to school is absolutely ridiculous if you ask me. Thanks for posting this because I had no idea there were districts who would have the audacity to charge a kid to ride to school. I would also drive my kid (if I had one) before I'd pay $450.


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