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Young students to get ID badges for bus boarding

Posted August 21, 2008

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— Thousand of students will be boarding yellow buses Monday as traditional-calendar schools in Wake County start classes.

After a couple of problems with young students and their routes, school officials are trying to reassure parents that riding the bus is safe.

One change made by school officials is that all kindergartners and first-graders will get an identification card on the first day of school that they will wear for the first few weeks. It will have the school's name, student's name, bus stop location and route printed on it.

“We're looking forward to the start of another great traditional year,” Don Haydon, the school district's chief facilities and operations officer, said Thursday.

On the minds of drivers and administrators are two unfortunate incidents over the summer with year-round students. A 5-year-old was dropped off at a bus stop miles from home, and a 6-year-old was dropped off at the wrong time – far from his home.

One bus driver resigned and the other was disciplined. In response to the incidents, every bus driver attended a training session over the summer. It re-emphasized the procedures and practices for picking-up and dropping-off students.

“We reinforced the policy. We don't anticipate a repeat of the problem,” Hayden said.

Bus drivers say the ID badges will help reduce confusion, which can occur with almost 900 school buses making 25,000 stops to pick up nearly 70,000 students.

“I don't think we'll have any more incidents like that. With the ID badge, I think it will be real good,” bus driver Gloria Watson said.

If during the route a bus driver realizes one of the students is on the wrong bus, policy states that student must be brought back to school to be dealt with there.

If a parent is not at the stop to pick up a kindergartner or first-grader, that student will remain on the bus.


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  • homebrewer Aug 22, 2008

    Yea they implemented the parent at the bus stop a few weeks ago for us Track 1 folks. My kindergarten son always gets off the bus with his other friends and walks the way home. I'm 100 yards down the road watching them the whole time. They started this WITHOUT communicating it to the parents. Luckily his friends ran down and told me to walk up there, otherwise they would not have let him off. This stinks for the closet knit neighborhoods who have parents taking turns meeting the bus and making sure kids get home

  • TheAdmiral Aug 22, 2008

    Typical. Don't fix the problem - just put something that costs money that does nothing in place.

  • OpinionatedGuy Aug 22, 2008

    Again, I don’t understand the school system…

    Bus drivers have gotten into trouble for not keeping up with students…

    Then they turn it around and make the young students wear badges so that the fixes the problem (WRONG!!!)

    It just makes it look like the WCSS has done something…

    What happens to the poor young child that loses or forgets their badge? A verbal warning (harassment?), Detention (Outcast) or because it is new they will just get a new badge?

    I find this solution to be another knee jerk reaction from the Wake County School system (WCSS)…

  • fromRaleigh Aug 22, 2008

    Badges...We don't need no stinkin' badges!

  • Mommyoftwo Aug 22, 2008

    wrrgirl - I agree with you about remembering your badge! I have difficulty myself sometimes too! Now let's have a 5 year old try and remember it!

    Maybe what the school system should do is eliminate some of the unnecessary administrative staff, bring the wage for bus drivers up a little and then hire more qualified bus drivers as well! That school system is so bloated with unneeded administration!

    As for the bussing, they really should go back to neighborhood schools and eliminate all this bussing for MILES and MILES! Not fair to the children, the parents or the school itself. Children living farther from the school are less likely to participate in school activities and that is really a shame.

    Can somebody please take over the school system and operate it the right way? I think Mickey Mouse and Goofy can do a better job than those over there! Especially the part about listening to what parents actually want!

  • Adelinthe Aug 22, 2008

    "It will have the school's name, student's name, bus stop location and route printed on it."

    Ok, but is there a written published procedure on what a bus driver will do if they find a child on their bus incorrectly?

    If not, these IDs aren't worth the whatever they're printed on because a young child could still get on the wrong bus and find itself abandoned.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • egwralcom Aug 22, 2008

    So they had some trouble with some students on the year-round schedule, so they're doing this only for students on the traditional schedule? Nice work.

    As for the need for busing, our school is only two miles away, but there is no way I'm letting them walk to school across Walnut Street. *I* am scared to walk across Walnut. There are no sidewalks on my side of the street and no good crossing points for at least 1/2 mile in either direction. No, we'll stick to using the bus.

    I would be happy to drop them off, since the school is practically on my way to work, but I can't afford the extra money to let me drop them off by 7:30 so I'm not late for work.

  • CestLaVie Aug 22, 2008

    TaxMan: I was just thinking the same thing, before I read your comments, and after I read this article.

    NOT busing would solve half the problems the school system has in the first place. How simple it was to walk or bike to school because it was close by. BUT, in our attempts to make everything politically correct for EVERY situation in this country, costs to maintain all this are skyrocketing. Where does it end?

  • wrrgirl Aug 22, 2008

    Really? this is the solution? A kindergartener and a first grade child are going to be able to keep up with a badge? I'm lucky to remember my own badge for work every day!

  • Tax Man Aug 21, 2008

    And why do we need all these buses? Just seems silly and expensive. Neighborhood schools that you can walk to or ride a bike to would make much more sense. And with diesel at $5 a gallon it would make economic sense. Pare down the busing system to the bare essentials.