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.