Many school districts provide bus service for students. Some parents wholeheartedly take advantage of a free school bus ride each day to help their kids get to and from school. Other parents, however, are adamantly against letting their kids ride the bus. It does seem like every time you turn on the news, there is a story about bullying or violence on school buses, bus accidents and more. Of course, if you don't let your kids ride the school bus, you will be responsible for getting them to and from school on your own. While some parents don't have the choice one way or another, other parents are torn about this decision. As you make the decision, there are some key points to consider.
Most schools lump all of the kids that live in one area of town or one part of a neighborhood together on one bus. This means that kindergarteners and first graders are often lumped with older students. Of course, these are the same older kids that younger kids see on the playground, walking down the halls and more. The difference, however, is that some bus drivers require older kids to sit next to younger kids. Other bus drivers, however, do a good job of keeping older kids on one end of the bus and younger kids on the other end of the bus. You can talk to other parents or the school to learn more about this aspect of the busing experience.
In most school districts, buses that do not have seat belts are used. Some bus routes only take kids through rather rural areas or neighborhoods. Others, however, take kids on busy highways, over railroad tracks and more. Of course, it only takes a driver looking away from the road for a second or a single driver in another vehicle to cause an accident. However, you may find greater comfort in allowing your child to ride on the bus if the bus is not traveling on busier roadways.
Your Child's Demeanor
Riding the bus is certainly a character building experience. If you rode the bus as a child, you no doubt still recall the experience of trying to find a friend to sit with, walking down the aisle and having the kids look at you and worrying about getting off the bus at the right stop. Some kids, and particularly younger kids, are simply not ready for this type of experience. Others find it exhilarating, and they will love the sense of independence they get when you show that you trust them enough to ride the bus on their own.
The fact is that each school district, each bus route, each group of kids that ride a particular bus and each individual child are all different. This means that answering the question of whether your child should ride the bus should be done individually. The answer that is right for your kids' friends or your neighbors may not be right for your child. Consider these factors carefully as you make a decision that is best for your child.
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