‘Letter to West Seattle: Please stop yelling at kids’ special-ed bus’

Sent by Sarah, who sent this note under that heading, while explaining, “Just recently I have experienced several instances of road rage outside my home while getting my two children onto the Special Education Bus. People don’t understand how this system works and the buses are not all marked as Special Education. There are several contributing factors, including, no buses during COVID, reduced bus access for K-5 students forcing caregivers to drive children and be on the road with Special Education Buses.” Here’s her request to the community:

To Fellow Neighbors:

The key differences in how traditional large yellow buses operate vs smaller residential Special Education Buses operate.

First, children ride Special Education Buses for a number of reasons, some are physical and some are neurodivergent. For my family, we have two of our three children riding the Special Education bus and one fits into each category.

These buses are equipped with special seat belts and seats to ensure the safety of all the children; caregivers are REQUIRED to enter the bus and physically buckle the child into and out of the seat each day. The bus drivers are not allowed to do this, and due to certain circumstances, it may require more time to ensure the child is safely secured in the bus. I would very much like to remind impatient drivers that honking and yelling at the caregivers, driver, and kids does not make this process go any faster and instead can prolong the experience and induce feelings of fear, shame, and frustration for all involved.

There are also times that caregivers must pass on information crucial to a successful transfer to the school or for after-school pickup to the driver. This quick check-in typically occurs after the child is secured into the seat. This is not idle chit-chat, so please be patient.

Due to the fact that these buses serve several families each morning for the same school and each child can experience a range in how their day is going both physically and emotionally, it is not possible to have a set pickup and drop-off schedule. Therefore caregivers have children prepared before the bus arrives, most children utilizing this service cannot sit out and safely wait for the bus.


It is possible on a residential road to turn around if you are stuck behind or in front of a bus that needs that extra time and go down another side street. I know this my be an inconvenience, but please know that the caregivers, children, and bus drivers understand. Please, refrain from honking, yelling, or driving up onto the curb. It scares the kids, they don’t understand what is happening and it is emotionally harmful to everyone involved.

Thank you, West Seattle Neighbors! (Here) is a helpful article with some graphics and other helpful tips about school bus safety, including things are camera and ticketing.

40 Replies to "'Letter to West Seattle: Please stop yelling at kids' special-ed bus'"

  • Heidi March 16, 2022 (5:19 pm)

    Thank you for sharing. I didn’t know any of this. 

  • Concerned neighbor March 16, 2022 (5:31 pm)

    Thanks for the explanation. I did not know, and my guess is that most other neighbors do not know either.   We want our special needs kids taken care of. 

  • Gatewood resident March 16, 2022 (5:43 pm)

    I wish people would chill the f out in their cars. Leave a bit earlier, slow down, be polite, drive defensively, don’t get mad, and ffs let people merge even if you think they are “cutting” in line.

    • Brian March 16, 2022 (6:09 pm)

      Unfortunately a lot of people have Car Brains and think they’re the main character in the story of transit. The number of times I’ve seen people straight up blow through fully red lights (that other people are already stopped at!) or disregarding stop signs is too high to count at this point. 

    • RecreationalDriver March 16, 2022 (6:10 pm)

      All of this. If you’re getting upset you’re doing it wrong.

    • CAM March 16, 2022 (6:23 pm)

      For the record, 99% of the time people are attempting to skip traffic and cut other people off to avoid having to wait in line they don’t actually have to get into that lane to get to their destination. If they have not been able to achieve their antisocial objective (or rare innocent mistake) by finding room to merge into gridlocked traffic from a fast moving lane, they could take the turn/follow the lane they are in and merely accept the detour they have to take to get to their final destination. It is not life or death that they get in that other lane. Accepting the consequences of their choices every so often might make them less likely to make similar ones in the future. Or that’s what people tell me on this blog all the time about other types of things. 

      • WS Res March 16, 2022 (6:50 pm)

        Thank you for illustrating exactly the problem mindset when people are on the road.  “99% of other people are doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason. Someone should show them consequences.”

        • CAM March 16, 2022 (7:26 pm)

          Nope. That’s not what I said. I in fact make mistakes when I’m driving. I sometimes don’t move over in time and the lane I need to be in is backed up and I can’t get in. Or I am going somewhere unfamiliar and don’t realize early enough that I need to change lanes and miss my chance. The answer in those situations is not to stop traffic or make other people mad by cutting them off (because I am responsible for how I treat other people). The answer is to handle the fact that I didn’t make the right decision, follow the path in front of me, and at my first opportunity fix it and turn around/take the longer route. Again, the answer here is for everyone to relax which includes the people trying to frantically merge at the last second who should just not. 

          • Pessoa March 16, 2022 (10:27 pm)

            Relax?  Life and death moment?  Take your own advice, CAM.  The problem isn’t so much someone trying to merge – Mon Dieu, someone cut in ahead of me!  – but the silly fuming, passive-aggressive response from drivers who will probably stew over the incident for a week.  

          • Gatewood resident March 16, 2022 (11:18 pm)

            Just let them merge back in. Maybe the just made a mistake, maybe they do it because they’ve learned it makes their trip shorter. It’s not your responsibility to “teach” anyone a lesson about order, and it’s so much easier to just be a tiny bit accommodating and grant them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you’ll be be less angry 

          • CAM March 17, 2022 (2:20 am)

            Pessoa – to be clear, I’m not going to accept your argument that saying “no” to people being bullies is aggressive in any interpretation. And if you want to see passive aggressive you might want to read your response. 

            Gatewood – I’m not sure where you’re picking up anger here but maybe you’re inserting your own reaction to this situation. 

            If anyone wants to take a minute to read my original comment without freaking out you will see that I am not in fact advocating mad max style road rage. I was pointing out that we don’t need to give people a pass for being jerks in any of these situations. The people honking at the special education school bus are the same people cutting in line at the last minute before turning onto the 1st Ave bridge or at the 5 way intersection. They are one and the same and it is the same attitude that drives both behaviors. It isn’t the people waiting in line for 30 minutes to get through the light that are honking at a school bus. And the fact is that neither behavior is necessary or even justified. And yeah, people need help learning that. And talking about it is one way for people to figure that out. But the best way for them to not learn that is for people to just let them keep being bullies for the rest of their lives and do nothing about it. 

          • Delta March 17, 2022 (8:56 pm)

            Yeah, no. The northbound ramp to I5 from the West Seattle bridge had the double white line to prevent last second merging. We’ve all been detouring along West Marginal and Highland Park Way for 2 years, yet people don’t know which lane they should be in? No, the people bypassing the line when leaving West Seattle and doing the last second merging right before the right turn onto Holden and the bridge onramp know where they should be, they are just inconsiderate jerks. Same for the people who are coming back and bypass the line for Spokane Street by getting in the Delridge lane, and then block traffic while they wait for someone to let them merge.We all know which lane is which. Line up and wait your turn.

      • Deo March 17, 2022 (12:02 pm)

        That’s not how roads work. There is no spot in line. It’s not a queue. It’s often not clear that a lane will turn into a turn only lane .5 miles before it happens. You need to let people merge. 

        • CAM March 17, 2022 (6:16 pm)

          Thanks Deo. Can you point me to where I said don’t let people merge? Or is it possible that what I have been saying is that we need to stop justifying it/excusing it? Please carefully read my comments and you’ll see that I’m not actually advising anyone not to let people merge. I’m saying stop telling people that’s the only option is to merge. Those people merging into deadlocked traffic cause accidents. They are reckless and they are a hazard to the people in both lanes. That behavior needs to be curtailed not encouraged by people just shrugging and saying whatever. People make frantic, abrupt decisions in cars that they don’t need to make and that the people around them aren’t expecting. They could just calm down, drive a bit farther, turn around (or whatever correction they need to make for the situation they are in) and get back on track. And since you all seem convinced of the opposite, I let people merge all the time. That isn’t the point. 

  • jb March 16, 2022 (6:09 pm)

    What  a sad situation that this caring and wonderful Mom has to remind people that they are not the only ones on the road.  Please people let’s  get a grip.  What makes you more important than a school bus making special runs to a school.  Unfortunately the people who think they are more important, will not read this wonderful explanation.  Thank you for sharing your concerns.

  • CAM March 16, 2022 (6:18 pm)

    Maybe people don’t do any of these things around any school buses no matter what kids are riding on them? And if you are doing these things and need to be told not to, maybe you need to reconsider your priorities. There are zero circumstances under which any of the behaviors described here would be socially acceptable. 

  • Karen March 16, 2022 (6:20 pm)

    Thank you for posting this important information. Like others. I did not know about these buses. PLEASE WS residents slow down and show some compassion.

  • star 55 March 16, 2022 (6:23 pm)

    So kind of you to take time out of your busy schedule to share this. 

  • Oh Seattle March 16, 2022 (6:49 pm)

    None of this should have to be explained.  If you are old enough to drive a car, you have no business having a hissy fit, period, but especially not because you think children are taking too long to board a bus.  If you are this emotionally incompetent you should not have a license to drive.  I’m sorry this parent has experienced this disgusting behavior enough times that they felt they had to write this to the community.  These adult drivers are no doubt the same people who bullied special needs kids when they were in school.  Just stay home if you can’t deal with the world in a reasonable manner.

  • 🙏 March 16, 2022 (7:41 pm)

    So sorry you and your family have had these experiences. Stress and road rage have become serious issues, and this being directed towards special needs kids and families is beyond. Thank you for speaking up. Suggestion for everyone… healthy stress coping, google it, might be good to get some new tips. It’s been an ongoing crazy stressful time for all of us and it’s understandable needing some help.

  • Jort March 16, 2022 (10:04 pm)

    Another sad example of how people lose their minds once they get behind the wheel. It is gong to be the struggle of a lifetime to undo the harm that this culture has brought to our society.

  • Canton March 16, 2022 (10:12 pm)

    Thank you Sara, for bringing this up. My usual dealing with school busses have changed with the bridge closure.  Have to head south, then east, to get around all the detour traffic. Now that our driving options have been downsized with road diets down to one lane each way, is it possible to have the bus pull to the side, when timely instructions need to be passed? I know the bus stop signs are for kids to cross the street directly in front of the bus either direction.  I always thought the bus lag was for parents to kiss their kids goodbye for the day, and small talk. If that route is on a main arterial,  and may need a few minutes to transition,  would in be more prudent,  to pull the bus over for a few to allow traffic to flow?

    • Jort March 16, 2022 (10:29 pm)

      Nope. Just wait behind the bus and deal with it. They’re kids, it’s a school bus, and it’s not a big deal. Wait patiently and reflect on your life.

      • Canton March 17, 2022 (9:54 pm)

         Ok jort, As I stated, just an observation.  Let’s say you, riding hard on your bike, come across two bicyclists.  One on curb, and one partially blocked the bike lane, having casual conversation. Would you stop for 5-10 minutes while they talked, or would your veer into the dangerous car travel lane, to proceed?

    • JM March 17, 2022 (8:44 am)

      @canton…..NO it’s not more prudent for the school bus to “just pull over” and let the cars pass. It is beyond sad that any parent would have to write in and explain how a school bus operates. It shouldn’t matter small bus, big bus, special needs bus it’s a SCHOOL BUS people grow the hell up. School Bus Drivers are under enough stress trying to navigate our congested roads, ensure the safety of the children getting on and off their bus and now apparently they have to navigate nasty self centered idiots who can’t wait an extra few minutes because god forbid they might be late to get their Starbucks! 

  • CJ March 16, 2022 (11:29 pm)

    Thanks for the explanation around how the Special Education Bus works, but I’m sorry you are treated so horribly that you had to take the time to do so.  People, please be kind and treat others the way you’d like to be treated.  There is no excuse for this type of behavior.  None. 

  • Special-Ed Bus Parent March 17, 2022 (1:00 am)

    Thank you WSB and Sarah for sharing this! My young child’s special-ed bus picks up and drops off on a busy main arterial road, and I worry about car issues twice a day while rushing on and off the bus and trying to strap them into the harnesses with arthritic hands. My child’s disabilities aren’t clearly visible, they lack age-typical safety awareness, and the bus driver has at times had to give (very brief) instructions or updates about ongoing bullying issues my child’s been experiencing. (Due to parked cars, there is no space for the bus to pull over) None of this would be obvious to drivers behind the bus. Please know caregivers are very conscious of drivers waiting and rush through goodbyes and critical communication as quickly as possible. Patient drivers, thank you! We see and appreciate you!

  • Ly March 17, 2022 (1:20 am)

    I hope the road ragey people are reading this article. How embarrassing they threw a hissy fit over a kids school bus 😂So sorry you experienced this. I wonder if a sign can be posted at the back of the bus saying Special Ed Bus – Will make extended stops please go around (or something like that?) That way people know what’s up. Anyone throwing a fit like that shouldn’t be driving though. Sheesh.

    • LPM March 17, 2022 (8:53 am)

      A sign on a school bus is just stating the obvious.  Money should not be spent on signage.  People should just grow up.

  • Amen March 17, 2022 (7:03 am)

    Sarah, Thank you for sharing your story!  I am on your side and screw people who are bullying that means they have been bully since they were little.  They have not been exposed why the school bus stops takes longer than expected.  That’s sad that they do NOT have patience or understand why school buses take forever.  Tough life on them!  Sarah – you are the best mom with a lot of patience to have kid to be buckled up and be secured!  I heart you for that and I have done that before with my cousin with disabilities that takes a lot of patience to get him on the bus and buckle it up.  Bus drivers just sit and be patience while parents do prep the kids on the buses.   Sarah – wish I could give you the long squeeze hug!  Driver(s) – you are just idiot for yelling and bullying out there- that’s who you are.  Just leave early which it helps better to avoid the bullying and yelling.   Apparently you did not know and do not see what this situation you put in impacts others.  You can ruin the mood on yourself and others – who’s fault is that – You the driver!   So, stop bullying, stop hurt others, leave early and drink some coffee! I agree with LY – that’s right – sheesh!  Have a good day and don’t be a jerk in West Seattle – if you are jerk then don’t belong in West Seattle! 

  • J March 17, 2022 (7:34 am)

    Like Ly suggested, can we get a local vehicle sign maker to create some magnetic signs for the buses (if legally allowed)? I’ll absolutely pitch in to help cover the cost. 

  • AL March 17, 2022 (8:54 am)

    Those road ragers should be ashamed of themselves.  Seriously,  honking at a special ed bus?  That is so beyond unacceptable.  This  really should not need to be explained to those idiots that honk because their crap is much more important than anyone else’s.  WS has certainly acquired some people with very little driving etiquette.  I am so tired of these people that feel they are so important that they need to be first in line or first through a stop light or whatever.   I agree with LY- I hope these aholes are reading this- because you know who you are.  Thank you for sharing  Sarah.  I hope the getting on and off the bus is more pleasant for your child or any of the children.

  • helpermonkey March 17, 2022 (9:05 am)

    Do I like getting stuck behind any bus? Of course not.  But it would never even occur to me to honk or yell at any school bus, let alone a special-needs bus. Honestly I thought it was against the law, like passing the flashing lights/sign. It should be. I hope everyone reads and takes this letter to heart. 

  • Mellow Kitty March 17, 2022 (10:49 am)

    Living near WSHS, I see careless drivers every morning at drop off (the bus stop is NOT a loading/unloading zone) & at the end of the school day. People honking as soon as the light turns green, honking at pedestrians who have the right of way, and on occasion, people blaring their horn to announce that they’re running the light and everyone else needs to stay out of their way. Not to mention the speeding, ignoring traffic signals, blind, reckless turns, and distracted driving. The offending drivers don’t care because they face no consequences for their selfish actions. 

  • AlkiBiach March 17, 2022 (11:21 am)

    Thank you for sharing this important message Sarah. I am so sorry to hear about the disrespect and harassment your children have received getting on the bus. Our Children are our most important asset. Keeping them safe is crucial. Everyone in WS can help.  Thank you Sarah & WS blog. 

  • Micki March 17, 2022 (6:51 pm)

    I find it heartbreaking that you and the kids have to deal with this, and,  boy do I applaud you for saying it.I love that you are advocating for your kids and they are lucky to have a “badass” mom that will stand up to bullies!

  • Auntie March 17, 2022 (9:15 pm)

    Waiting for any bus to load/unload just requires a little patience. What might strain one’s patience is when you see a child get off the bus and the parent stands with the child on the curbs chatting with the bus driver – this does seem like idle chitchat. I don’t see this often, but have seen it occasionally and wonder how necessary it is for this sort of conversation to carry on while holding up traffic. Meanwhile, if everyone just left on time (or even a little early) then a few stops for a bus along the way would not make one late. Pack your patience.

    • 22blades March 18, 2022 (2:39 am)

      There’s nothing like a cutter with a “WSsticker on the back window. It’s like the SUV drivers who cut off cyclists with a bike rack mounted on their back bumper hitch. They know EXACTLY what they’re doing.

  • Pessoa March 18, 2022 (1:02 pm)

    As someone who was a road warrior in Los Angeles with drivers merging, passing, cutting in, and generally moving around each other assertively, but with relatively little drama, it seems a lot of Seattle drivers leave the house intent on fulfilling silly vindictive vendetta’s.   Often, something is a problem only because you decide to make it a problem.  

  • Bus Driver March 19, 2022 (6:58 am)

    I am a Seattle school bus driver. We are trained to stop three feet from the curb, if possible. And no matter what, we are trained to put on our flashing reds and put out the stop paddle for all pick-ups for ALL children. Also, it is not always a smaller bus that picks up a student with special needs. sometimes it can be a bus, equipped with a lift, that looks very much like a stereotypical school bus.

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