Tuesday, September 09, 2008

School, and a Rant

Wow, it didn't seem like there'd be a lot to do for school with James this year, but there was! Back to School

First day back was August 18th. Yikes!

Same school, room, and teacher. The new assistant for his classroom was his favourite SHAPE assistant from last year. Yay!!!

James is excited and engaged. Talking in phrases and sentences. Looking at peple and trying to talk with them. Doing some imaginative play and using the tricycle. Actually using the classroom swing for the First Time Ever. Starting on patty training Big Time. Awesome!

The school bus system, however is new. The school district brought that inhouse, to save costs. I know that there are going to be bugs in a new system, but the first day was so bad that I don't ever want to do it again.

First, the bus never showed up in the morning. At 9:00, I just threw in the figurative towel and drove him to school. I found out later that the bus had broken down and the bus arrived 2 HOURS late. Note that I found this out from James' teacher; the school's transportation people never bothered to call and tell me this, let alone apologise for the delay. Oh, and school is 3 hours long. Way to go.

Going home, the bus was a good 10 minutes late getting to the school. I know because I called his teacher at 12:25 to find out where he was. School lets out at noon, and we live *maybe* 10 minutes from the school. Last year the bus was never later than 12:15. I knew there were only 2 other local kids on that bus, and one of them lives down the street from us.

So I tried calling the bus coordinator. No answer. Left message to please call me because I want to know where my son is. I repeated this at least twice more. I guess they were out to lunch. In more ways than one. At 1:05 someone finally picked up the phone. She asked me to repeat myself ... someone was talking to her in the background and evidently it was more interesting than me. Then I was told no one knew where the bus was, and put on hold so she could call the driver. At 1:10 the bus pulls up *next door.* I am still on hold, so I hang up.

The bus driver could only shrug and tell me they were driving around all over. The wrong addresses were given and my son should have been first off the bus, not last. I said "Really, so you have been driving for an hour all over town?" (which, BTW, is small). He thinks for a minute and laughs and says "Yeah."

Un-friggin' believable.

So I canceled the bus service. I had to do it over via message machine because ... no one was answering the phone at this point. MUCH later in the afternoon, I got a call back saying they got my message. Would I want to try again next week? Not bloody likely. Oh.

Are these people for real? A busload of Special Needs kids, 2 of 3 who have trouble talking, goes missing for an hour and oh-that-shouldn't-have-happened-but-it's-the-first-week-you-know is the best they can do? I will never know what happened to my son on that bus. I am hoping that it was nothing except a lot of driving. But I will never know.

Oh, and if they know it's a new system and things happen in the first week, why did they just walk away during the homeward route and leave the transportation line unmanned? Especially considering their less than stellar performance that morning? If their lunch break is more important to them than getting my son home safely then I will never use their system again.

Has anyone else gone through something like this? I am not a panicky mom (worried and stressed, you bet, but call-the-cops-my-kid-is-missing, no) and I was on Red Alert.

Oh, and I am staying tuned on what SHAPE will look like for him this year. He only has 2 of 5 days a week covered. And he keeps wanting to take naps because that person can only come later in the afternoon. Then there is the CATS program to consider. Hopefully I should hear in a few weeks what that will look like.

I think I will schedule him for a class that I can take him to on either Friday mornings or a weekday afternoon. Sitting and waiting is not my forte.

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