Bus Driver Fired for Picking Up Freezing Kids in Her SUV when Bus Broke Down

Folks, Canadian school bus driver Kendra Lindon was about to pick up kids on a freezing cold day when her bus broke down. Other recent times this had happened, she recalled, no replacement bus arrived. And so, with windchill temperatures dipping to -37 C (-34 F),  she took matters into her own hands and picked up the few students along her route in her own SUV.

From there, Lindon planned to keep the kids, including her own son, warm until another bus arrived — no frostbite, no problems.

Or so she thought.

It turns out another parent had watched Lindon picking up the kids, including two boys who had to sit in the rear cargo hold, where there were no seat belts.

Concerned, the parent contacted First Student — and that afternoon, Lindon was fired.

Parents have since been writing letters on Lindon’s behalf, but so far, it seems, there is no chance of an appeal, because rules are rules. 

This is a Free-Range issue because those rules are most likely in place to keep children safe from ALL adults, on the assumption that many are out to hurt them. Forget the fact that there are more good people in the world than bad, and that we are capable of distinguishing the two. No, all adults are treated the same: they’re suspects.

Moreover, even though I am a HUGE fan of safety belts (ask anyone!), having two kids sit belt-less in a cargo hold for a few minutes, or even get driven a short way, does not mean INSTANT DOOM. Yes, it makes sense to buckle up whenever possible. But once in a while circumstance dictates less than optimal accommodations, and that’s okay. It’s not the best. But it’s okay. We are so attuned to “best practices” that we forget that “not quite the best practice” is not the same as, “hideous danger.”

It’s not.  – L

When a school bus doesn't show, is it WRONG to pick kids up in an SUV?

A school bus driver using her heart and head is punished by those unable to use either. 

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86 Responses to Bus Driver Fired for Picking Up Freezing Kids in Her SUV when Bus Broke Down

  1. Amanda Matheny April 12, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Seriously? What’s wrong with these people? It’s not like it was a total stranger that the kids did not know and were getting in the car with, and it’s not like she tried to take off with them. She was protecting them until they got a replacement bus. She was keeping them out of the icy cold weather. It doesn’t even get as cold as that here, but I wouldn’t want my kid standing out in that for who knows how long waiting for a new bus. Would they rather these kids freeze to death? I have had to wait for city buses in below freezing weather before. It’s not fun. I agree this wasn’t the most desirable situation, but it’s better than the alternative. Even if this driver deserved a reprimand or something for taking things into her own hands without permission, she does not deserve to get fired. Besides, there should be an alternative plan in this situation. If I were her though, I wouldn’t want to be rehired. Rather I would seek employment elsewhere, and become an activist for implementing changes, including contingency plans for this situation.

  2. Tana C April 12, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    There aren’t seatbelts on school bus benches, either. That’s ok, but a few minutes in a beltless cargo hold isn’t? People are idiots.

  3. Bob Mazzi April 12, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

    So, does she sue to get her job back based on their failure to provide a bus that does not break down? Said breakdown being what led to her actions….

  4. Selby April 12, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    Note the name of busybody parent is not given. It never is.

  5. Mike in Virginia April 13, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    One of the comments to the article says “would you rather have your child get frostbite, or potentially molested and killed?” So there you have it, folks. Nevermind that the students should know and recognize their own bus driver, so they were not, in fact, getting in a car with a stranger.

  6. Jenny Islander April 13, 2014 at 12:34 am #

    It almost sounds as though child molestation is a chemical reaction that manifests itself when conditions fall within certain parameters. That is, if you combine some children, a car not belonging to one of their parents or guardians, and a driver not related to any of them, the driver must turn into a child molester and murderer. It’s the same kind of saturated stupid solution that caused people who didn’t even own computers to run out and buy Windows 95 when it was all over the news, because they were sure it would improve their lives.

  7. Jenny Islander April 13, 2014 at 12:39 am #

    Also, according to my NOAA chart, frostbite certainly applies at 34 below zero, and frostbite, you know, makes parts of people’s bodies fall off.

    “Little Tommy only has seven fingers because that’s how we saved him from his bus driver being turned into a child molester and murderer by being in a car with him!”

  8. J.T. Wenting April 13, 2014 at 12:59 am #

    so where’s the law says you need to wear seat belts in a parked car?
    ‘Cause that’s what it was, a parked car, if the story’s correct.

    Or is the idea that “you have to be lucky we don’t get you arrested for putting children in a car without proper booster seats”?

  9. Asya April 13, 2014 at 1:58 am #

    …How are people THAT bored?

  10. anonymous this time April 13, 2014 at 2:17 am #

    You know what? I’d rather my kid get into a car with a COMPLETE STRANGER if it would save them from frostbite.

    In fact, I’d rather my kid get into a car with a COMPLETE STRANGER under any circumstance that might be immediately harmful. Because if there’s a fire, flood, or freezing temperatures, that’s a 100% danger. If my kid is already injured somehow, that’s a danger and I know the kid needs help.

    Getting into a car with a COMPLETE STRANGER if you are in immediate danger is a risk, of course, but A TINY RISK.

    Never mind these kids all knew this woman, A PROFESSIONAL CONVEYOR OF CHILDREN.

    Gadzooks, I cannot fathom the “rules are rules” madness that has taken over any semblance of common sense. It seems preordained somehow… like we’re supposed to just kill ourselves off with circuitous, false logic. Never mind climate change.

  11. Ben April 13, 2014 at 4:35 am #

    If so many people feel rules are rules, then shouldn’t there be rules in place for days with extreme cold.

    For example: if a driver calls, a replacement bus should arrive. Whoever is supposed to make that happened should have been fired the previous x times the replacement didn’t come.

    In my view the driver did nothing wrong. The kids had to get to school and they had to get out of the cold. She made both happen. The only part she could’ve improved upon is to make sure the school let the parents now what was going on ASAP.

  12. MichaelF April 13, 2014 at 5:28 am #

    Why didn’t the busybody parent call about the replacement bus? Oh, because that would be some REAL concern, not this theatre that we get all the time.

  13. BL April 13, 2014 at 5:33 am #

    “No, all adults are treated the same: they’re suspects.”

    And then they wonder why some of us treat all of officialdom as tyrants.

  14. Susan Laplante April 13, 2014 at 8:20 am #

    Why didn’t the busy body neighbor invite the kids ino get house?!!!!!

  15. E Simms April 13, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    The parents should have organized a few “Drive your kid to school” days. A few days of practically empty buses and major traffic jams may have changed some minds.

  16. Nicole 2 April 13, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    So she parked her SUV and let some kids sit in it? She definitely should not have driven with them in the vehicle (especially not the cargo area), but just parking and letting them sit in the vehicle seems more than reasonable.

    Oh, and school buses don’t have seatbelts because they’re perfectly safe without them- safer than they are in a normal vehicle with seatbelts. The cargo area of an SUV is part of the crumple zone, so it is extremely dangerous to let anyone sit back there while you’re driving. But while idling on the side of the road? Not a big deal.

  17. Mark Roulo April 13, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    Now we know why the wet girl recently out of the pool during the fire drill wasn’t offered much help. Because the teachers weren’t ready to be fired.

  18. Mike in Virginia April 13, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    The story says that when the bus that was parked at her home wouldn’t start, she drove her SUV to pick up the kids and drive them to school so they wouldn’t be standing outside in the freezing cold. So the SUV was NOT parked, she actually drove the kids to school.

    Alternatively, she could have drove around to the bus stops and told the kids that the bus wasn’t coming and they need to go back home, but I don’t see how that would be better than just picking them up.

  19. lollipoplover April 13, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    “Why didn’t the busy body neighbor invite the kids ino get house?!!!!!”

    Because it’s much easier to make anonymous phone calls and feign *concern* than it is to do the right thing like this bus driver did or open your warm home up to cold children who are waiting for a replacement bus.

    I hope every kid on this bus route who knows this neighbor (who obviously is near the bus stop) eggs this house on mischief night. What a douchecanoe.

  20. oldtimer April 13, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    As a retired EMT & Firefighter, I just glanced at the wind chill charts and it appears, frostbite begins in under 10 minutes time at -37 C (-34 F). Not to forget deadly hypothermia. The local PTA should give her an award for going above and beyond, when the others have failed to protect their children. Rules that endanger our lives should be outlawed!

  21. Donna April 13, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    “But once in a while circumstance dictates less than optimal accommodations, and that’s okay. It’s not the best. But it’s okay. We are so attuned to “best practices” that we forget that ‘not quite the best practice’ is not the same as, ‘hideous danger.'”

    THIS. So much this!!! So many of the times even from the commenters here we get all these reasons that a situation is less than ideal as if we cannot survive unless everything is 100% ideal 100% of the time.

    Putting kids in a cargo hold may be less than ideal, but not even remotely statistically dangerous. The average person only gets into 10 accidents over the course of 60-70 years of driving, so the odds of this one trip to pick up a few kids resulting in an accident are incredibly minuscule. The minimal risk certainly beats the much higher probability of hypothermia and frostbite while waiting outside for another bus.

  22. E Simms April 13, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    By Mike in Virginia Sun Apr 13th 2014 at 10:58 am

    The story says that when the bus that was parked at her home wouldn’t start, she drove her SUV to pick up the kids and drive them to school so they wouldn’t be standing outside in the freezing cold. So the SUV was NOT parked, she actually drove the kids to school.
    ============================================================

    No, she did not take the kids to school. You need to reread the article.

    “Lindon put safety first. It was a matter of blocks to round up the five junior high students she’d normally take to F.E. Osborne school, using her own personal SUV.”

    “From there, Lindon planned to keep the kids, including her own son, warm until another bus arrived — no frostbite, no problems.”

  23. Papilio April 13, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    I found this on a bike blog recently, but it applies here too:

    “Rules, and also traffic rules are never a goal, only a means. An important means that in many cases we want to reinforce, but always a means nevertheless. Recent studies for instance indicate that in cycling cities many ‘break’ a rule, but often to improve a situation that would otherwise not work. This ‘rules are rules’ argument can also be criticized from a moral perspective. Evegny Morozov (To Save Everything Click Here, page 203) refers to John Dewey in stating that it is naive to see rules and laws as something final instead of something that is in constant renegotiation,”for bad laws [rules] are never in short supply, and even good ones tend to become outdated as practice informs our theory. […] The fact that so many people are violating a law might itself prompt the government to revise or even scrap it”. In other words, Assholes are everywhere and they need to receive penalties. But if there seems to be structural rule bending of cyclists at certain places in the city (i.e. running red lights) we might want to renegotiate these rules put in place by our engineers. They are a means to protect the weak from the strong (although this can be debated as well) and if they do not match actual behavior, we should revise our theory (instead of vice versa).”

  24. Donna April 13, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    Mike –

    The article states that she drove around and picked up 5 kids and then waited for the replacement bus with them all in her car. She didn’t drive them to school. My guess is that the cargo hold filling was done last so that the kids who drove around with her the most had seats and seatbelts and the cargo hold use was predominantly while the car was parked.

  25. John April 13, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    Last time I was on a school bus there were no seat belts…

  26. CLamb April 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    If this were a criminal case she could use the doctrine of imminent peril as a defense but I don’t know if this is true in a civil case. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necessity_in_Canadian_law

  27. August April 13, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

    My God, Canada is getting to be as sick & evil as the USA is….

  28. anonymous this time April 13, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    From a Calgary Herald opinion piece dated March 5, 2014: “I think the situation isn’t as black and white as being the story of a heroic bus driver: at the very least, Lindon broke traffic safety laws while carrying precious cargo — other people’s children. Nothing happened and clearly her heart was in the right place (plus, to be fair, Lindon drove just 700 metres, wrote Herald columnist Licia Corbella), but what if something *had* gone wrong?”

    My daughter suffers from an anxiety disorder (sadly, even though she was given lots of opportunities to be a Free Range Kid, she still became anxious about LOTS of things). I found a wonderful program of kid-centred therapeutic recordings called “Turnaround,” and it’s working great!

    One of the main themes is that fear is a “three-headed monster.” There’s one head that’s called “Wacky Thoughts,” another that’s called “Yucky Feelings,” and another that’s called “Zany Responses.”

    “Wacky Thoughts” include “What IF” thoughts. The kids are taught in this therapy program to CHALLENGE “what if” thoughts, because they are NOT REAL. The danger is NOT REAL. The kids are taught to compare “What If” thoughts to “What IS” perceptions. Because if you see “What IF” as “What IS” then you end up with some “Yucky Feelings” (racing heart, aching stomach, sweaty palms), and then you might start rearranging your life, making rules and such to try to keep you safe. That’s called “Zany Response.”

    So let’s see… this writer says, “What if something *had* gone wrong?” Well, that’s a Wacky Thought. It’s what if, NOT WHAT IS. Then she goes on later to suggest that SOMETHING had to be done to this woman driver… because we have to keep kids safe. Okay, that’s definitely a ZANY RESPONSE, because firing, or even suspending or otherwise reprimanding this driver DOES NOT MAKE ANY CHILD ANY SAFER. At all.

    My guess is that the adults who cried “wolf” on this one were perhaps experiencing some “Yucky Feelings” and didn’t realize that they could call on their inner resources to understand that it was just anxiety they were feeling, related to their Wacky Thoughts.

    I’m beginning to think that it’s not just kids who need this therapy program.

  29. Jim Collins April 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    I’m going to side with the bus company on this one. It all comes back to liability. The bus company was willing to accept responsibility for those students in their bus, not in the driver’s SUV. I rode a school bus for several years. We had a policy that if your bus was more than 15 minutes late in bad weather, you went home. There should have been no reason for her to have to do what she did. If it was -34F I wouldn’t have sent my kid to the bus stop in the first place.

  30. pentamom April 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    “Last time I was on a school bus there were no seat belts…”

    ROFL I can’t believe we all missed this before now.

    No seat belts in school buses is perfectly fine, no seat belt in the cargo hold of a car driven at most a few blocks (with the second-last child riding there until the last child was picked up) — DANGER.

    Personally I’m not one of those who advocates for seat belts in school buses because in my uninformed guesstimation, the need to exit quickly and safely in case of emergency is probably a slightly higher risk than the risk of actually being injured in a bus accident. But more to the point is the logic of the situation that kids are going to DIE WITHOUT SEAT BELTS IN AN SUV when, had this situation not arisen, they would have been without seat belts in the bus.

  31. pentamom April 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    “The bus company was willing to accept responsibility for those students in their bus, not in the driver’s SUV. ”

    But they were not providing “their bus” in a timely enough fashion to ensure the children’s safety from the weather. So what this boils down to is, “Better the kids stand out there and freeze than the bus company be exposed to a liability they had not previously assumed..” They could have got their pants sued off if any of those kids had been harmed by the weather, regardless of any 15 minute rule that may have been in place, and as a result of this woman’s actions, they were PREVENTED from having any liability.

    That may indeed have been the bus company’s reasoning but I don’t see how it’s defensible, unless protecting your own liability over protecting kids from real, actual, present physical danger is defensible.

  32. BL April 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    “The bus company was willing to accept responsibility for those students in their bus, not in the driver’s SUV. ”

    Then they should show up on time or be thrown in jail. Why not? Parents and kids can be legally penalized for being late (truant!).

  33. Steve April 13, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Schools have become asylums of irrational thought ruling our society.
    And they are asylums ONLY because most parents are right their with them.

    If most of the parents in that school organized and said they would withdraw their children immediately from the school unless this woman was given her job back, you know what would happen.

    But no, parents don’t want to waste their precious time standing up for anyone’s rights or standing up for rational thought.

  34. SteveS April 13, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    I understand that for liability purposes, most schools will not allow staff to transport students in their own vehicles, but this seems like an instance where it may have been better to give her some kind of verbal “reprimand” and then concentrated on seeing what could be done to have prevented students from having to wait outside in those conditions for a prolonged period of time. She certainly should not have been fired.

  35. bmj2k April 13, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    So rules are made to protect kids from people who protect kids. Yeah.

  36. SOA April 13, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    Honestly she did make a bad mistake with the kids being in the cargo hold without seatbelts. I would be on her side as long as all kids were belted in in a regular seat, but the no seatbelts and a cargo hold, is not a good idea. I would never stick my kids or anyone else’s kids back there.

  37. SOA April 13, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    was the car moving with the kids in the cargo hold? I got the impression it was. If it was just parked, then yeah, I would not care. But I would rather not have my kids unbuckled in a cargo hold in a moving car.

  38. JP April 13, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    Wonderfully astute commentary from the gallery on this one.
    I’m almost hesitant to mention the obvious: that the ruling fools are thinking with their wallets (as in insurance liability issues.)
    Of course the kids knew the woman – she was no stranger.
    A potentially harmful circumstance (severe weather) is shoved aside and ignored against ‘rules.’
    The ultimate result of this appears to throw the weight of acculturated draconian unforgiveness at someone who is actually helping kids in need.
    Kids in need.
    That appears lost in the shuffle.
    That is what adults do in society. Come to the aid of kids.
    Real aid in real situations. Not some crushingly correct textbook idea of how the world is supposed to run….but how it actually is.

    Apparently, now we have to trade in jobs for the simple act of human compassion?
    They’re right, kids. It is a mean world out there.

  39. Jenny Islander April 13, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    @SOA: The possibility of a child who had to sit in the cargo hold due to lack of room getting hurt in an accident vs. the certainty that any underprotected parts of that child’s body would be in the early stages of frostbite within 10 minutes? I’ll take rattling around in the cargo hold for all ten fingers, all ten toes, and intact ears, nose, and cheeks, Alex.

  40. Reziac April 13, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

    Someone says,
    =======
    school buses don’t have seatbelts because they’re perfectly safe without them- safer than they are in a normal vehicle with seatbelts.
    =======

    Actually, no. Buses don’t have crumple zones, true. But on significant impact, riders get FLUNG. Sometimes clean out of the bus. There have been some studies indicating that buses should have seat belts, at least if they have the typical bench seats of an ordinary school bus. (I don’t know to what degree the studies are paranoid, tho, since buses are relatively-rarely in accidents.)

    And all this aside, we survived the first 60 or 70 years of motor vehicles without seat belts at all.

    I think the true issue here is the bus company ducking liability. By firing the driver, they’re demonstrating to a potential “hazardous conditions” lawsuit: “It’s not OUR fault, and we took steps to ensure it won’t happen again. Go sue someone else.”

    One suspects this is more of an issue where school buses are contract carriers rather than owned by the school district.

  41. pentamom April 13, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

    “But I would rather not have my kids unbuckled in a cargo hold in a moving car.”

    I would rather not, too. I would rather it never got below 15 degrees, ever. I would rather have all my kids on full scholarships to Oxford.

    The available choices were: some kids in back of SUV without seat belts, or some or all kids standing around exposed to frostbite.

  42. SOA April 13, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

    Those are not the only options Pentamom. The school could call the parents and tell them to come get the kids from the bus stop. The kids could use common sense and when the bus is late after 10 minutes they could go back home or find somewhere warm to wait.

  43. Cathy Milne April 14, 2014 at 3:52 am #

    That poor woman…I really feel for her. It is hard to imagine that riding in the cargo space for a short distance is worse than frostbite or worse..being picked up by the “boggey-man”.
    At least the parents knew who had their children. I don’t believe in the boogey-man but others do.

  44. Donna April 14, 2014 at 7:13 am #

    Well, Dolly, I COULD win the lottery today so I guess it makes perfect sense for me to not bother to go to work anymore.

    The fact is that none of those “options” you mentioned actually happened. What actually DID happen was 5 kids stood outside in -34 degree weather waiting for a bus that wasn’t coming anytime soon. This woman didn’t go knock on doors and drag the children out to her car and make them get in. They were already standing outside. Although the school or bus company had no way of knowing she she planning to pick up the kids, no phone call ever came to notify their parents of the delay. Since there are incentives to attend school every day and going home likely means missing school unless a parent is home and able to drive, it is unknown if the kids would have gone home.

    I’m sure that we can all imagine several different solutions to this problem, but the fact still remains that NONE OF THEM HAPPENED IN REAL LIFE. You can’t blame someone for actually fixing a problem by proposing a bunch of mythical responses that people could have done but didn’t actually do. In this situation, as it actually existed and not the “options” you want to make up in your mind that never occurred, the choice was continuing to stand in -34 degree weather or getting in a warm car and possibly riding 1-2 blocks without a seat belt. I know which one any decent parent would choose for their child.

  45. Andy April 14, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    I would say few things about whole thing:

    1.) Kids sitting on seats with safety belts are safer then kids in the trunk without them. However, the difference shows up only if the car hits something and that chance is quite low. Plus, I would assume that driver will drive in much slower speed because a.) roads in cold weather b.) kids do not have seat belts.

    I would consider her reckless if she would drive them 150 km/h, if she went by 30-40km/h then kids were pretty safe.

    I blame exaggerated safety campaigns for the idea that every single drive without belts is outrageously dangerous, no matter what conditions, speed and other dangers facing passages. Yes, it is harder to make people act by telling them truth and real trade offs then by showing them bloody bodies and few slogans. That does not make those exaggerations more ethical.

    2.) Why does companies, schools and cops seem to go for harshest punishment available so often? Even if you disagree with the action, where did lesser punishments disappeared? It is as if people assumed every mistake or broken rule should always be punished by firing, expulsion or jail time.

    3.) Being in the middle of situation where you have to decide now and your decision have consequences to other peoples lives is different then sitting in sofa. First, when you sit in the sofa, you do not feel real fear nor adrenalin nor responsibility. You are not worried, so you are already in huge advantage.

    And even sofa sitting people come up with different opinions on what is optimal action. So, it should be ok for people in the middle of situation to be able to choose within range of opinions.

    Otherwise we are forcing them not to focus on problem at hand, but to focus on cover your ass type of actions and mind read.

    4.) Anyone who says that this women, or someone in similar situation, should be fired cause “rule are the rules” has no right to complain about people replacing common sense by mindless rule following nor about when they will be refused help in the name of some nonsensical old rule.

  46. Donna April 14, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    If I ever need to market something, I am so going to track down the people who marketed the seat belt and car seat. They have some so convinced, even here where people seem to have a slightly better understanding of odds and risks, that driving 1-2 blocks in a residential neighborhood without a seatbelt so clearly equals death that they would rather their children stand outside in -34 degree weather than do it. An absolute marketing genius.

  47. Andy April 14, 2014 at 7:41 am #

    @SOA Just as adults, kids do not always find optimal solution. Kids are not always aware of full danger and do not always watch time.

    In normal situation, kids is not supposed to go back home when bus is late a little. They would be punished or at least told not to do that again. So, I can easily imagine them to wait in place thinking that is what they are supposed to do.

    I would point out that freezing itself make people act irrationally. Read up wiki on hypothermia chapter Signs and symptoms ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothermia ):

    * mild – … mental confusion …
    * moderate – slow movement … mild confusion, although the person may appear alert. …

    Note that the undressing described in Paradoxical undressing
    chapter can happen already in moderate hypothermia level. I’m mentioning it just to give the context on what “confusion” in moderate level really means.

    It would be perfectly normal for at least some freezing kids not to take reasonable action. Expecting them to be perfectly rational while freezing is not reasonable.

  48. Cindy April 14, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    There’s another article which explains the situation in a little more detail here.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/03/05/its-disgusting-outrage-in-calgary-after-bus-driver-gets-fired-for-picking-up-stranded-kids-in-suv/

    She didn’t drive the kids to school, she let them wait in her car until another bus arrived. They did travel a few hundred meters altogether with a small amount of that time having a couple of kids in the cargo hold. (They didn’t move back there until the last actual rider was picked up)

    She was on the way to get her own son, and stopped to let the other kids in. When the child on crutches, and not dressed properly for the weather was seen, the two other boys got in the cargo hold to make room. It was a very short trip in less than optimal conditions – and as she explains, she isn’t JUST a bus driver, she’s also a parent and a friend.

    Ok, granted this is less than a perfect situation. For those of you who would rather not have teenage boys in the cargo hold for a few feet, have you ever had frotbite? Frostnip, the early, non-damaging stage of frostbite is extremely painful on rewarming. Its not permanently damaging, but that doesn’t make it fun.

    And yes, she could have called all the parents and had them pick up their children Because of course, all the parents would be at home – and they could all get their in a matter of minutes. Really?

    The kids should all have been dressed for the weather. This isn’t Atlanta, its Calgary, AB. But kids don’t always – and you can’t MAKE them do it. My parents made sure we all had winter gear, and my middle brother refused to wear his hat on the way home from high school when he was about the same age as these boys. I still remember my dad trying to defrost his ears in the bathroom, it was pitiful. And as for going home, one particularly brutally cold day with extreme wind chills (yes, far colder than the day in question here), we were dismissed early. Despite gloves, my fingers were quite frostbitten on arriving home. Waiting in a car for a ride is preferable even to the alternative of having the kids go home, because on their trip home they’re STILL in the cold. It does’t sound like all the kids are waiting at the end of their driveways.

    The bus company is taking a lot of flack from this, and from what I’ve read in comments very few people have been concerned about predators. They’ve even pointed out that if the neighbor had been concerned about abduction they would have called 911, not the bus company. Especially ture since she was driving an SUV, if the neighbor didn’t know this was a bus driver why call the bus company at all? How could she tell it wasn’t just a parent picking up their own child and his friends? (which is what it was).

  49. David April 14, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    All this worry about ‘cargo hold’ makes me worry about us as a species. When I was growing up, we rode in the cargo area of trucks that drove at 70 miles an hour…holding on for dear life. A short trip in an SUV’s cargo are wouldn’t have fazed us. IF something had happened, it would have been a disaster, but the rare chance of that happening didn’t stop us.

    I’m not saying it was right to do, but putting a kid in a cargo hold isn’t the disaster the article and some of the posters here seems to be saying it is.

  50. BL April 14, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    @Donna
    “If I ever need to market something, I am so going to track down the people who marketed the seat belt and car seat.”

    I think it was only statewide (Pennsylvania), not national, but there used to be a PSA promoting seat belt use in which a state cop (or an actor portraying one) said “I’ve never unbuckled a dead person.”

    A co-worker of mine, a retired state cop on a second career, said he had done so many, many times. He said the PSA was a complete lie.

  51. ks April 14, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    All this worry about ‘cargo hold’ makes me worry about us as a species. When I was growing up, we rode in the cargo area of trucks that drove at 70 miles an hour…holding on for dear life. A short trip in an SUV’s cargo are wouldn’t have fazed us. IF something had happened, it would have been a disaster, but the rare chance of that happening didn’t stop us.
    I’m not saying it was right to do, but putting a kid in a cargo hold isn’t the disaster the article and some of the posters here seems to be saying it is.

    Exactly this. I remember when I was a teenager, about 25 years ago, piling into the back of my uncle’s truck with several of my cousins (there were at least 10 of us back there) and driving to spend a weekend at his and my aunt’s house, 2 hours away, at 70 mph on the highway. Nobody died and nobody’s parents were terribly worried about the trip. And we had an absolute blast.

    It isn’t ideal and I’d probably not let my kids do that (and their father definitely wouldn’t), but I also wouldn’t worry about a few minutes in the back of a moving car with no seatbelts. It really isn’t that big a deal.

  52. Warren April 14, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    You all know that had she driven to all the stops and just told the students to go home because the bus was going to be late, due to mechanical problems, that the parents would have complained.

    “She was already there with a big enough vehicle, why didn’t she just drive them to school?”

    A no win situation for the driver.

    Somewhat similiar to minor workplace injuries. If a coworker drives them to seek medical help, be it a clinic or ER, there is a whole whack of liability issues for the coworker and the employer. Thus the overuse of ambulance services, to just cover one’s ass. Some companies will also use a car service or cab to do the transport, to limit liability.

  53. pentamom April 14, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    “You can’t blame someone for actually fixing a problem by proposing a bunch of mythical responses that people could have done but didn’t actually do.”

    Thank you, Donna. The available options *for the bus driver at the time the incident occurred* only included those that were actually present, not what might have been options had things been done differently.

  54. Jen (P.) April 14, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    “One of the comments to the article says ‘would you rather have your child get frostbite, or potentially molested and killed?’ So there you have it, folks.”

    She’s their regular bus driver – she’s been through a background check. And what is she going to do to those kids in her SUV that she couldn’t do on the bus? What an absurd reaction. Of course, firing her is another absurd reaction. I understand the bus company’s liability concerns, but they’d be facing a different liability issue if some kid had gotten frostbite waiting for a late bus.

  55. Neil M April 14, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    This resolution feels like the result of if-we-allow-this-the-floodgates-will-open reasoning, in which bus drivers all over Canada will suddenly be picking up their charges in personal vehicles.

    Yes, it is inadvisable for anyone to ride in a motor vehicle without a seat belt, and under ideal circumstances Lindon should not have permitted it. However, these circumstances were not only less than ideal but also rare, and I don’t think the school need worry about a wave of “copycat” bus drivers. Nobody was in danger, nobody got hurt, and in my view the whole thing is a tempest in a teapot, which I suppose could be said of all worst-first thinking.

  56. Dave April 14, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    This is what happens when rules trump commonsense. I guess the concerned parents would have preferred the children getting frostbite rather than being warm in the SUV, Then they would have brought the bus company and the school up on charges. You can’t win when people are forbidden to make decisions in an emergency situation.

  57. Donna April 14, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    “I guess the concerned parents would have preferred the children getting frostbite rather than being warm in the SUV, Then they would have brought the bus company and the school up on charges.”

    I didn’t get the impression that the person who called was even the parent of a child she picked up. They referred to the parent as “another concerned parent.” It sounds like it may have been a parent of a child on her route, so knew who she was, but not a child that was picked up.

  58. pentamom April 14, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    “And what is she going to do to those kids in her SUV that she couldn’t do on the bus? ”

    There are so many ridiculous things about that situation it’s hard to pick the worst. But that one is right up there. Oh, no! They were IN A VEHICLE WITH THEIR BUSDRIVER! We must have a POLICY against that!

  59. Mike April 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

    Canadian stupidity at its best!And of course, nobody says anything! The government can impose any stupid or abusive law in this country, no one will say a word!This country is every politician’s dream!

  60. anonymous mom April 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    Absolute agreement on the problem with seeing “not ideal” as the same as “horrifically dangerous (and, if it were in the U.S., likely jumping to the conclusion that the not-ideal should be a serious criminal offense).” Where is our sense of perspective?

    I also think it’s insane that any of the commentators on the article would have thought that child molestation was the potential risk. Yes, six junior high kids are crammed into an SUV without seat belts (some in the cargo hold) so OBVIOUSLY child molestation would be the danger you’d jump to. Clearly, the potential risk was the kids being injured in the case of an accident. Whether we agree the risk was outweighed by the benefits, at least it as an actual risk that should be considered, rather than the insane idea that somehow this woman was planning on molesting a car full of junior high kids.

    It sounds like the community is pretty outraged about this, and they feel that the risks the children faced being in the car without seat belts was outweighed by the benefits of getting them out of the cold in a timely manner. I think that’s a reasonable position to take (although I can understand why people would feel that the issue of car safety was significant enough to make her actions irresponsible) and it sounds like this should have been a wake-up call to the district and the bus company to have better policies in place for very cold days, and perhaps to come up with some contingency plans for the bus drivers so they don’t resort to driving the kids in their own cars, rather than grounds for firing this woman.

  61. em wilson April 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    The world is NOT black and white, but many colors,, and many shades of gray. I applaud this bus driver, & if I had kids in this situation,, I would have been very grateful. Zero tolerence is a stupid rule, that should be abolished. Each incident, ANYWHERE, should be examined, and ruled as individuals.

    Give her back her job,, with a RAISE.

  62. pentamom April 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    Right on, em wilson. My new mantra is “zero tolerance is ALWAYS stupid.” There are no exceptions, because any situation in which zero tolerance might result in someone being rightly punished/dismissed could have been reached with a “use your head” policy instead of a zero tolerance one. And a zero tolerance policy always contains the potential of unjustly punishing someone for an act of good judgment, or an unintentional infraction.

  63. Steve April 14, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    Donna said:

    “If I ever need to market something, I am so going to track down the people who marketed the seat belt and car seat. They have some so convinced, even here where people seem to have a slightly better understanding of odds and risks, that driving 1-2 blocks in a residential neighborhood without a seatbelt so clearly equals death that they would rather their children stand outside in -34 degree weather than do it. An absolute marketing genius.”

    I agree. It’s almost like any child will get struck by lightening the second they take a seat in a vehicle without putting on a seatbelt.

    I remember when we didn’t have seat belts. And our family car was involved in a couple accidents AND nobody was badly hurt, much less killed.

    Most people these days grow up assuming they must wear a seat belt because they WILL most certainly be in a terrible accident where death will be prevented by seat belts.

    Society gets brainwashed by the common beliefs of the day and assumes those beliefs are TRUTH. The thing nobody thinks about is that most people never get in an accident bad enough to require them. The accidents where seat belts save lives are also accidents where helmets “might” save a life. How many religious seatbelt users also require all passengers to wear helmets? Hmmm?

    I grew up assuming that getting smallpox was a death sentence for anyone who caught the disease.

    THEN, I heard my wife’s grandmother talking about how her entire family came down with smallpox back in the day. Their house was quarantined, BUT – nobody in the family died. Nobody had lasting effects from the disease. And they used Vaseline to stop the itching. Cheap Vaseline. We took that hint and used Vaseline for chickenpox on our kids, and it worked like a charm. Rub on a little vaseline – no more itching. How many parents today know that vaseline stops itching from chickenpox or almost any kind of itching. In fact, any type of oil or grease will stop an itch.

  64. Buffy April 14, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Mike said:

    Canadian stupidity at its best! And of course, nobody says anything! The government can impose any stupid or abusive law in this country, no one will say a word! This country is every politician’s dream!

    This is fascinating – Mike, do you live in Canada? Because according to Warren, Canada is sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns in terms of its laws, policies, and government; especially as compared to the US.

  65. Alx April 14, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    This is what happens when an American company originating in a culture of fear, sensationalism, and liability operates in a country whose culture is not one of fear, sensationalism, and liability.

  66. Warren April 14, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    Buffy,
    Take a look back at ALL the articles brought here, and figure out which ones are Canadian origin and which come from the states. Not even close.

    And anywhere in North America she broke the law. Unless you know somewhere in North America that does not enforce seatbelts.
    And for all we know, the busybody that reported her was a relative from the states up here for a visit.

    You cannot even compare countries right now. From healthcare to education, to the guns, to your love affair with law enforcement agencies.

  67. Papilio April 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    “Because according to Warren, Canada is sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns in terms of its laws, policies, and government; especially as compared to the US.”

    That could mean at least two things… (Sorry, sarcastic mood here)

  68. Michelle April 14, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    Warren, this would not be illegal in Texas. It is legal to have a kid riding without a seatbelt — or even a small child without a carseat — if there aren’t enough seatbelts to go around. See section E1 on this page: http://www.dps.texas.gov/director_staff/public_information/seatbelt.htm

  69. Warren April 15, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Buffy,
    You can keep you beloved USA. They are now refusing people at the border, because at some point in their life they attempted suicide while suffering from a mental problem. Doesn’t matter that they are better now, or anything. Nope not allowed to visit the states.

    I think it about time the states stopped being paranoid. I think the states should face reality, that they are not this wonderland that everyone just has to visit. And if your gov’t is telling you that all this so called security hasn’t impacted tourism and cross border shopping, they are full of it. We live not far from a border crossing, and it used to be easy and fun to hop across for shopping, a weekend, or vacation. Now a lot of people are saying it is not worth the hassle, the unkown or the abuse. The way a lot the US border guards treat people would get their asses kicked, if they were not carrying guns.

    I wonder if the original designer of the Berlin Wall, could design one for the Canada/US border.

  70. BL April 15, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    @Warren
    “Now a lot of people are saying it is not worth the hassle, the unkown or the abuse. The way a lot the US border guards treat people would get their asses kicked, if they were not carrying guns.”

    You just live on the wrong border. They let anyone cross our southern border and stay as long as they like.

  71. anonymous mom April 15, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    I don’t think we can deny that we’ve gone security-crazy in the U.S. Long story short, I lost my littlest’s SS card. We procrastinated in filing our taxes (I did do it yesterday afternoon), and we needed his number to claim him, so my husband headed over to the local SS office to see if he could get a replacement card and/or a temporary card with his number. He left with his own driver’s license and birth certificate, as well as our son’s birth certificate and immunization record (the only official paperwork our 2-1/2 year old has).

    Nope. First, he said the security to get into the building was worse than an airport. There were six armed guards. Most people had to take off their belts and shoes and were patted down. It took almost half an hour to get through the security line.

    Then, he couldn’t get our son’s card, because I didn’t have the right immunization form. The one I had was certified by the city; they needed the one certified by the state. Obviously the fact that the man who is listed on the birth certificate they had RIGHT THERE with an immunization form that is certified does not matter.

    I just find that, every year, it gets harder and harder to do things here. They require more documents, and the documents themselves are harder to acquire. Nevermind that nearly all identify theft has its origins online, not by people going into SS offices and asking for cards.

    Anyway, it’s frustrating.

  72. Donna April 15, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    There is something over-the-top with the US/Canadian border. I’ve heard of so many people – Americans, not Canadians – getting hassled there. Being a single parent, I refuse to go to Canada with my daughter because of the HUGE number of stories I’ve heard about one parent traveling alone with children being hassled at the border because they don’t have documented proof that the other parent approved the voyage. One guy even had to wait hours at the border for someone to send him a death certificate for his wife. I’ve traveled to and fro other foreign countries and have never had anyone raise a single question concerning my traveling alone with a child so it appears to be unique to this one area. Makes me wonder if it is Canada-instigated or US-instigated.

  73. anonymous mom April 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    @Donna, I think it was mostly U.S.-instigated, but I’m not sure. I live right on the U.S.-Canada border (if I walk a few blocks from my house, I really can see Canada ;)). When we first moved here, it was very easy to get over the border. Post-9/11, they made a lot of changes, although a number took years to go into effect. The big one is that you need a passport to cross.

    It definitely has discouraged travel. A lot of Americans don’t have passports, and so just don’t travel over now. And, it affects Canadians, too. When I started teaching, it was unusual for a quarter of my students to be Canadians. Now, if I get one or two Canadian students per term, it’s a lot. Nobody wants to deal with the hassle the border has become day after day.

  74. Warren April 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Almost 30 yrs ago I was seeing a young lady, who was not a canadian citizen. Was trying to become one, but not yet. My fault and wasn’t thinking. We were in Niagra Falls, Ontario and like I had numerous times before decided to cross to states side. Never showed any ID, just got asked our reason for crossing, which was sightseeing and dinner. Coming back got asked the standard, “Where were you born?”. Still no request for ID. My Toronto answer was fine, and then in her english accent answered, “Brighton, England.”.
    I thought we were sunk. I immediately explained it was my fault, that we really hadn’t intended to cross. That it was a spur of the moment thing, that I had done dozens of times. They just smiled and told us to remember her passport in the future.
    We would probably be charged or at the least detained these days.

  75. Donna April 15, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    Anonymous mom – I do know that passports have made it much more difficult to cross borders. To take cruises too. I went to Mexico many times pre-9/11 and a couple times since and it is more difficult and time consuming now. But even though it is more difficult than it was, it still seems easier for Americans to move between the US and Mexico than the US and Canada.

    And the kid thing at the Canadian border puzzles me. Why interrogate American solo parents as to the permission of the other parent to travel outside the US upon their RETURN to the US? And why only at the Canadian border? I used to belong to a single parents listserv and it was a constant source of complaint and only at the Canadian border. The US didn’t even question me taking my child (or really bringing her back since that is when the issue is) to Mexico or Samoa or New Zealand alone.

  76. Andy April 15, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    @Donna “it still seems easier for Americans to move between the US and Mexico than the US and Canada”

    That is weird. I would expect it to be other way round. Just because I would expect illegal immigrants and drugs to move more from Mexico then from Canada.

    “Why interrogate American solo parents as to the permission of the other parent to travel outside the US upon their RETURN to the US? And why only at the Canadian border?”

    They are also super vigilant about kinder eggs I heard. Theory: maybe there is simply some jerk in command of usa-Canada border causing all that.

  77. anonymous mom April 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    @Donna, I don’t know, but I have a friend who is a single mom who had to go through an insane amount of paperwork to be able to take her daughter–who only saw her father maybe once every two years–on an international cruise.

  78. Donna April 15, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    Andy – I guess I should have said that it seems easier for non – Hispanic Americans to travel between the US and Mexico. I suspect Hispanic Americans may have more difficulty. Maybe that is the difference. Americans and Canadians are pretty indistinguishable while Mexicans and non-Hispanic Americans are fairly easy to tell apart. As a blue-eyed blonde who doesn’t speak a lick of Spanish, it is pretty clear that I am not a Mexican attempting to illegally cross into the US so, unless I meet some drug mule profile, I’m of little interest.

  79. Buffy April 16, 2014 at 5:32 am #

    I never said anything about the US being beloved, and Canada being horrible. In fact, I think there are a ton of things that Canada does far better than the US.

    I just thought it was interesting that a) this story is about Canada! and b) Mike’s comment was “Canadian stupidity at its best” which is VERY different from your descriptions of Canada as a place where everyone has common sense and every law, rule, and policy (if they even exists, because do Canadians really need laws?) is perfect.

  80. Warren April 16, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Buffy,
    Never said we were perfect. Only ever stated how much better were are than you.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  81. Emily April 16, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    Hey, just so we’re clear, I’m Canadian too, but I don’t automatically think that Canadians are better than everyone else in the world.

  82. hineata April 16, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    @Emily, that’s just as well, because, really, as you should all know by now, New Zealand, Godzone, is the best little country in the world, followed not too far behind by Australia – could we hear a resounding chorus of ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi Oi Oi’ right about now 😉

  83. NicoleK April 17, 2014 at 5:05 am #

    Is this the sort of bus where the kids wait at a collective bus stop a 10 minute walk from their houses, or is it the sort of bus that picks them up at the front door? The fact that a parent observed this suggests the front door scenario, in which case she should have told the kids to go back inside.

    The school had to fire her for liability reasons.

  84. Andy April 17, 2014 at 5:46 am #

    @NicoleK “The fact that a parent observed this suggests the front door scenario, in which case she should have told the kids to go back inside.”

    1.) Nobody knows who complained, but it seems like it was not parent of kids in question.

    2.) Even if it would be parent, it still does not suggest front door scenario. The bus stop can be 10 minutes from some houses and front door from another.

    3.) Even if it would be front door scenario, other kids parents might have been in work at the time.

    4.) Even if it would be parent and front door scenario, the parent in question would call only his own kids home. He is apparently someone who minds adults helping other peoples kids. He is unlikely to help anyone else.

    5.) Even if it would be front door scenario and kids parents home failing to call them back cause of huge personal fault, it still does not explain why helping those kids should be punished.

    “The school had to fire her for liability reasons.”

    What liability? Involved kids parents did not complained. They seem to support driver.

    I find this kind of thinking outrageous. It starts with assumption that everyone in trouble surely did something wrong. It continues with idea that people therefore should not be helped out of the trouble, cause they deserve it. The final step, attempt to punish those who help them anyway is sick beyond believe.

  85. Amanda Matthews April 17, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    I think the most ridiculous part of this is that people were having their kids stand outside and wait for the bus in -34 degree weather. Despite the danger, just like good little sheep they sent their kids off to the bus stop. And the kids, also being good little sheep, did not return home when the bus was late. Since that’s not what they do in normal situations, even though this was obviously not a normal situation (and yes, anyone that stepped outside in that weather will tell you it was obvious, even to kids), they still didn’t do it.

    The bus driver thought outside the box and was fired for it.

  86. Kim Corea April 24, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    I can’t even believe this has gone on this long!!! What a wonderful gesture by a loving, caring concerned person turned into a nightmare! She chose the morally correct thing from a hard situation – this so called concerned parent would have rather watched kids freeze – says a lot about her!! This person knew very well who’s vehicle the kids were waiting in – it was no stranger !!Besides- are there seatbelts in school buses? Pathetic is all I have to say !!