“Hitting DEFCON 1 Whenever a Kid Gets Off at the Wrong Stop”

Readers — This is one bfstnekabt
of the most fantastic editorials
I’ve ever read. It’s in Canada’s National Post.  The only think I don’t agree with is blaming a particular party for over-reacting to remote childhood dangers. Our entire culture is tied up in knots about danger, unable or unwilling to understand that risk is inevitable — it doesn’t represent negligence, it’s just part of life. – L

A new school year began on Tuesday, and Toronto’s often hysteria-prone news crews were geared up for the scare stories that always get served up by nervous parents this time of year.

It didn’t take long. A four-year-old Scarborough boy wandered into the wrong classroom on his first day in school, wearing the wrong nametag, and wasn’t immediately spotted. Cue panic: The police were notified, an alert went out, dozens of police with a K-9 unit turned up to scour the neighbourhood, terror spread. The little boy watched it all obliviously, until teachers spotted the mistake.

Later the same day, another four-year-old, named Alexander, got off the bus at the wrong stop after classes. He wasn’t far from home and was quickly spotted by a daycare worker who noticed a tag on his backpack and called the school. The principal promptly arrived to pick him up and return him to his parents. The bus company delivers almost 50,000 kids a day on 1,600 routes, but Alexander’s plight made local newspapers, radio bulletins and Twitter updates. His father was irate, the bus company was on the hot seat, experts were consulted to discuss what could be done to prevent a recurrence. The notion that, in a city of several million, a child occasionally will get off at the wrong stop, wasn’t considered.

Security is a legitimate concern — especially where children are concerned. And parents naturally slip into terror mode whenever a possible threat to their child arises. But Canadian schools now take the cake when it comes to hitting DEFCON 1 whenever a kid gets off at the wrong stop or spots a peanut in the lunch room.  …

Read the rest here.

Why is it NEWS when a school bus drop off is not perfect?

Why is it NEWS when a school bus drop off is not perfect?


57 Responses to “Hitting DEFCON 1 Whenever a Kid Gets Off at the Wrong Stop”

  1. Bose in St. Peter MN September 6, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    Check this out: “The driver of Alexander’s bus had a list identifying how many kids were to get off at each stop, but wasn’t allowed to know their names for “security” reasons. The bus company had considered providing photographs to the drivers, but again feared unspecified “security” concerns. Over-reacting in the approved manner, the company is now considering radio frequency identification tags that could be attached to backpacks so every child on every bus could be monitored at every moment.”

    Ridiculously over the top — LESS safe — that bus drivers aren’t even supposed to know students’ names!

  2. Mike in Virginia September 6, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    I posted this response on Facebook and will repeat here, for perspective.

    I started kindergarten when I was 4 years old in 1978. My parents took me to first day orientation where we all learned which bus number I was supposed to be on, and the process the school followed to get the right children on the right bus. My first day of school, when I went to get on the bus, the bus monitor looked at my name tag and looked at her sheet, and directed me to get on the WRONG BUS! I argued with her that I knew what bus I was supposed to be on, and she insisted on placing me on the wrong bus. All of my arguing with her got nowhere (after all, she was the adult, I was the 4-year old). So, after the bus dropped off all of the children and was at the last stop, in a different neighborhood, in a different subdivision far away from my house, the bus driver insisted this must be my stop and I got off the bus (probably because I knew where I was). I don’t recall much about how I got home, I just remember walking for a very long time and that I knew my way home. I got there safely, but very, very late, and long after the other kids in my neighborhood had returned home. My mother gave the school a good chewing out, but the next day, it happened again! This time, the bus driver believed me that I was on the wrong bus and took my directions to drive to me home, dropping me off at my house. After that, they started putting me on the correct bus. The reason for the mixup? There was another “Michael B.” at the school and they didn’t bother to spell out last names on the bus list. Go figure.

    The point is, that was truly a worst-case scenario, and I was fine. I wouldn’t wish that on another child or parent, and the school clearly had poor procedures in place that needed fixing, but the level of panic over a child getting off on the wrong stop, not far from home, seems ridiculous compared to my case of being on the entirely wrong bus in another part of town and still getting home safely. Its all relative, I suppose.

  3. Nicole September 6, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    I have an idea. If your child takes the bus, do something really revolutionary. Don’t rely completely on the bus company to keep your child safe. Sit down and talk with your child about what to do if he or she ever has a problem on the bus or gets confused and gets off at the wrong stop. If you really want to do something unheard of, tell your child that the bus driver is there to help kids and it’s okay to talk to him if something doesn’t seem right because schools almost never hire ax murderers to drive buses. Or if you’re really daring, tell your child that in an emergency, like getting off a bus and not knowing where you are, it’s okay to go and *gasp* ask a grown up on the street for help, or knock on the door of a nearby house even if you don’t know the people who live there. Because unless Toronto is a very crappy city (and it’s always looked nice in pictures), the chance that the person lurking behind that door is a pedophile madman who wants to kidnap and kill precious little Johnny or Susie is about the same as you having just bought tonight’s winning lottery ticket.

  4. Filioque September 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    I agree with not blaming any one party for all this paranoia. Sadly, safety hysteria appears to know no political boundaries.

  5. QuicoT September 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    Mike in Virginia,

    RFID with your head!

  6. Papilio September 6, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Well, now we know why Japanese kids in their first school year wear orange hats.

    @Mike: wow! Did they put the other Michael B on your bus then?
    At least YOU knew where you were and how to get home! Today’s 4yos probably don’t, do they??

  7. Warren September 6, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    The only blame in any of these situations belong to those who have overreacted and cannot handle the fact that stuff happens.

    None of this should have involved emergency services. None of this should ever have made it to the media. These events are nothing more than everday life.

    As a parent, if you cannot handle your child being in the wrong class by mistake, or getting off at the wrong bus stop by mistake, without going off the deep end……then you do not deserve to be parents.

  8. lollipoplover September 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    My oldest is now in middle school and finally gets a bus after biking to elementary for years. On the first day of school, his bus broke down twice on the way to school (they had to wait 15 minutes for a new bus) and once on the way home the new bus broke down too! He said it just puttered out in the middle of the road. My imagination can run wild with what could have gone wrong and the accidents that could have happened. But he was late to school and late coming home by some 30 minutes. That’s it.

    Sometimes things don’t run smoothly on the first try. His second day there were no problems.

  9. Donna September 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    I agree with Warren here. Parents need to calm the heck down over stupid stuff like this. While I would probably be a tad miffed if my kid was put on the wrong bus because it likely inconvenienced me in some way, there is a difference between being annoyed at a routine life inconvenience and the necessity for fit pitching, emergency services and the media.

    Now if I were Mike’s parent, I’d be more than a little annoyed. Not because they put my kid in the wrong bus but because all the adults refused to listen to him when he said it was the wrong bus.

  10. JJ September 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Check this out: “The driver of Alexander’s bus had a list identifying how many kids were to get off at each stop, but wasn’t allowed to know their names for “security” reasons. The bus company had considered providing photographs to the drivers, but again feared unspecified “security” concerns. Over-reacting in the approved manner, the company is now considering radio frequency identification tags that could be attached to backpacks so every child on every bus could be monitored at every moment.”

    Not only have we gone hysterical over imagined dangers, we are completely narcissistic too, believing that every adult out there would obviously stop at nothing to snatch our own precious perfect child. Because my child is at the center of my universe he must be the central acquisition goal of everyone else too.

  11. Gary September 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    “that bus drivers aren’t even supposed to know students’ names!”

    It will eventually lead to this…


  12. pentamom September 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    A few years ago there was an “Alexander” situation with a kid of about the same age in my city. It was reported in the newspaper the next day as “child found uninjured.” (I don’t listen to the radio much during the day but there was no Facebook panic and I didn’t hear anything else about it other than the newspaper article.) I so wondered who I should ask what the usual morbidity rate was, for a child who was in the wrong place for about half an hour but was completely safe and under responsible adult eyes the whole time but whose mother didn’t know where he was for that time.

  13. Gary September 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    “…or getting off at the wrong bus stop by mistake…”

    Hey Warren, my in-laws live with us and my MIL works for one of the larger school districts in the state in the transportation dept. The horror stories she comes home with which then get tied into how she isn’t going to let the kids take the bus when they start school blah blah make me giggle in my head because is “me parent, you grandma…”

    Helicopter Grandmama…whoda thunk it.

  14. Stephanie September 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    All this makes me glad my kids can just walk to school. I’m even hoping they’ll let my oldest walk my youngest home when the youngest starts kindergarten next year. We’re fortunate enough to live within a quarter mile of the school, so it’s not what I would call a big deal to have what will then be a seventh grader walk a kindergartener home.

    It won’t prevent the issue of a child going to the wrong classroom, but that’s not a common situation anyhow.

  15. pentamom September 6, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    Okay, if the kid was wearing the wrong nametag, does that mean there was some other kid who wasn’t accounted for? Or do they just randomly hand out nametags with made up names that bear no relation to the names and total number of the kids expected?

    I fail to see how this situation arose without someone thinking, hmmmm…let’s count the kids and make sure everyone’s in the right place before we CALL THE POLICE. :headdesk

  16. Gary September 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    “Or do they just randomly hand out nametags with made up names that bear no relation to the names and total number of the kids expected?”

    Ok everyone, one of the activities at Camp Gary is going to be who can make up the funniest yet BELIEVABLE random kid name…

  17. Donna September 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    “Ok everyone, one of the activities at Camp Gary is going to be who can make up the funniest yet BELIEVABLE random kid name…”

    I had clients in A. Samoa named Halloween, Huggies, SilentNight, HanSolo and, my favorite, AmazingMiracle Nissan (who was named after the amazing miracle of being born in a car on the way to the hospital – we assume a Nissan but nobody was willing to ask) so it will take a lot to get beyond believable for me.

  18. lollipoplover September 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    I’d like to be Robin Drugstores or Rhoda Bike for my Camp Gary nametag.

  19. Brenna September 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    “Not only have we gone hysterical over imagined dangers, we are completely narcissistic too, believing that every adult out there would obviously stop at nothing to snatch our own precious perfect child. Because my child is at the center of my universe he must be the central acquisition goal of everyone else too.”

    JJ, this is what boggles my mind – why in God’s name do people think everyone wants their kid?? Your kid is a PITA!! So is mine. I love her, because she’s mine, but I’m not nearly so narcissistic (and that is exactly the word I’ve used about this before) to think that she’s so perfect that everyone wants her. I honestly believe that if someone did kidnap her, they’d be calling and offering me money to take her back within 6 hours. My son they might hang on to for longer, but my daughter? Not so much.

    Life happens. People need to chill.

  20. Silver Fang September 6, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    How can bus drivers possibly know where a kid is supposed to exit the bus if they don’t even know the kid’s name?

  21. EricS September 6, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Again, these schools panic, because they don’t like the bad press, and lawsuits. I’m sure some of the staff find these paranoia and litigious mentality ridiculous as well. But their hands are tied. Protect themselves, and let the children suffer in the long run. Or let kids be kids, and chance getting sued, charged, or lose their jobs.

  22. Nicole September 6, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    My brother was lost for half an hour the first day. He was found crying at his friend’s house. It was annoying and somewhat scary (abduction is rare, but it happens, so yeah).

    The school pushed him out with the walk home kids when he was suppose to walk home with parent. Somehow my mom missed him in the hoard of children, so she went to the school. Because the school can’t allow a parent to look in the gym for a child (because, ZOMG, they are a STRANGER) it held her up. He sat in her car for a bit, but when she didn’t show up he walked to a friend’s house, and thought something happened to her 🙁 .

    He was one of three kids lost. The school seems to think you must either let your kid walk home independently OR use the car rider line, even though lots of parents walk with their kids, or park and walk, because the car rider line is ridiculously chaotic.

  23. b September 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    ‘The company is considering radio frequency ID tags.’

    Why is this news, you ask? Money to be made, politicians to exploit for political and personal enrichment, higher taxes, Federal grants, all for the kids, more crazy rules in school codes, lawsuits to be avoided.

  24. Suzanne September 6, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    My daughter is also a student in the Toronto School Board. Wednesday, there was some sort of snafu and the bus she was suppose to be on never showed up after school. She and her classmates had to wait over an hour for a replacement bus. No effort was made to contact the parents and let us know. The bus driver won’t let our kids off the bus unless their is an adult to accept them, despite the fact that they are in grade four and perfectly capable to walk them selves home from the bus stop. So all the parents were left waiting for an hour and a half with no information as to where our kids were. We spent most of the time discussing how stupid it was that we were all standing there and devising a plan to insist our children be allowed off the bus without us… that’s next weeks project.

    I can tell you that by the end of week one, my daughter’s bus driver already knows the name of all the kids on his bus. So any “security” derived from not giving out lists is void.

  25. Nicole September 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    My son and a neighbor’s daughter were put on the wrong bus home on the first day a few years ago. I stayed here in case they arrived on another bus, and my neighbor went to the school in case they were taken back there. They showed up here safe and sound, quite unfrazzled because they were together (and I expect rather proud of themselves for directing the other driver to the right street.) I asked DS just now, and he didn’t even remember the incident without prompting, so it hardly scarred him for life.

  26. BL September 6, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    “The only thing I don’t agree with is blaming a particular party for over-reacting to remote childhood dangers.”

    Sorry, but I have to disagree. The “just-following-orders” mentality will only stop when individuals are called out for what they do.

  27. Tara September 6, 2013 at 7:56 pm #


  28. Reziac September 6, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    Oh, I get it — now we’re supposed to panic every time someone makes a mistake, such as wandering into the wrong classroom or getting off at the wrong bus stop!!

    You kids better not make any mistakes!!

  29. Dave in Stanwood September 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Hey, Everyone! I TOTALLY have input on this! We live up here in the Pacific Northwest… about 45 minutes north of Seattle. My daughter started kindergarten this week, and was really excited to take the bus home. Well, the time came for her to be home, and I saw the bus zoom past our stop… we live in a rural neighborhood, and the driver has been dropping off the same couple of kids for years, and didn’t realize there was a new one. I called the school, who called the bus garage, who radioed the driver, who said “AH! There she is! I’ll bring her back around in a bit!” And, when he did, he said that she had happily talked his ear off the whole way. No worry, just first day “figuring out where everyone goes” stuff. All was well, as there was really nothing else that could have happened! Yay!

  30. bmommyx2 September 6, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    I feel as though it’s just getting worse. My son is 7 yrs old. The new pick up & drop off procedure for Sunday school includes walking them in & signing them in before leaving & then signing them out at pick up. His elementary school has parking across the street along with a crossing guard. You are not allowed to drop off across the street you must walk them across. We don’t have school buses, but the local traffic is horrendous at pick up & drop off so they added a local shuttle service. I mentioned to a neighbor mom that I wanted to try using it to take my son to school in the hopes that eventually when he was comfortable I could walk him to the stop & he could go alone & maybe even later in the year walk to the stop himself. The mom mad some comment about it not being safe. I told her that if the school wasn’t so far he could walk like I did. She said well it’s different now. I think the whole world has been brainwashed.

  31. Gary September 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    “I’d like to be Robin Drugstores or Rhoda Bike for my Camp Gary nametag.”

    See I was thinking more along the lines of like Phineas T. Crunklestumper, Archibald Stickybritches, Tommy Tutone, stuff like that.

  32. Jenn September 6, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    As a teacher I can say that every school year (particularly on the first day of school), a student will not be at their bus stop and be temporarily `lost’. This is a first that the parents went to the media crying foul. In all of the other cases, other parents at the bus stop realized the error and helped the child or the bus driver realized it at the end of the route and returned the child to the school or correct stop. I think this happens because we don’t know our neighbours. If a child knows the people in his or her neighbourhood, then when he or she starts school, he or she will know the `big’ kids. Those big kids can help out! You can ask them before school start to ride the bus with your kindergartener. You can ask them to make sure your kindergartener gets off the bus with them.

    When I was a first grader in 1979, I decided that one day after school I would get off at my old bus stop and go to the candy store. The bus route had changed from the previous year (unbeknownst to me and my parents) so I was a little panicked when I got off the bus as it was not the bus stop I was anticipating. What did I do? I asked one of the `big’ kids from the bus if they knew where my street was and he did so he walked me home. The next day I got off at my usual bus stop, walked past my home to go to the candy store and then walked home. By October I had quit riding the bus and would ride my bike 1.7 km to and from school. No one thought it was strange or odd because everyone else was doing it too! And I get labeled the `lazy’ mom because my kids walk 1.2 km home from school everyday because I’m at work and can’t make it to their school in time for dismissal but I can make it home by the time they walk home from school.

  33. Steve September 6, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    Lenore, how about posting more stories about sane, intelligent kids and their parents who show common sense, independence and resourcefulness.

    Is this site Free Range Kids? … or Insanity in the Western World.

    Maybe you should consider a name change.

  34. Alex R. September 7, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    Obviously the correct name for a child is “Robert’); DROP TABLE Students;” Every enlightened person knows this!

  35. Warren September 7, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    My MIL from my first marriage was asked to leave our home, by me. And told that until she could think before speaking she would not be welcome in our home. Issues of contention:

    1. Telling my daughter, well actually stepdaughter, that I really wasn’t her dad.
    2. Telling her it was perfectly okay not to be able to swallow pills. Contrary to our doctor explaining that there is no physical condition preventing her from doing so. And that certain meds are either pill form, or injection.
    3. After weeks of overcoming her fear, my girl finally mastered her two wheeler. When she asked me after dinner if she could go out and ride, her grandma spoke up “You don’t want to over do it. I rode my bike too much and got Scarlet Fever.” That was the time she was told to leave.
    4. And this one was the best. My MIL wanted to know if we were going to let my stepdaughter name her little sister when she was born. I laughed hysterically, and reminder her that we were having a baby, not buying a puppy.

    When they were again welcome in our home, they were told the ground rules. Us parents you not. You do not like what we are doing as parents, you are more than welcome to keep your mouths shut.


  36. J.T. Wenting September 7, 2013 at 2:50 am #

    “How can bus drivers possibly know where a kid is supposed to exit the bus if they don’t even know the kid’s name?”

    hence the idea of implanting RFID chips in the kids’ necks (tagging bags won’t work, within 5 minutes half the tags will have been switched around or stolen by the kids themselves, so they will have to be permanently implanted in the kids, just like is done with dogs and zoo animals already).

    In the UK I think there’s already a program like that underway to implant elderly people with RFID tags so they can be tracked if they run away from their detention centers (oops, did I just say that, meant “retirement homes” of course).

  37. Another Lenore September 7, 2013 at 4:55 am #

    This happens in rural areas too because I did this as a child on my first day of school. I was 4 and going to kindergarten. The first stop is a private Catholic school, and the second stop is the public school. I assume they had some shared bus agreement; this was the early 1970s. I was supposed to get off at the public school, but I got off at the Catholic school. I know it didn’t take long for them to notice, but they realized it after the bus had already pulled away. There was no calling of police or anything like that. They simply called the other school and transportation was arranged to get me to the correct school. I was told of my mistake, and I never made the mistake again nor was I belittled for making that mistake.

  38. TaraK September 7, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    On her first day of kindergarten, my daughter was dropped off at her bus stop. It was four houses away. I did not know exactly where she was going to be dropped off (some years K kids have been dropped off right at the door, sometimes on the corner, we don’t get an exact spot because there is just one kid). She walked the four houses down the street, alone, and rang the front doorbell! Because we’d been out in the neighborhood she knew where her house was and which direction she needed to go to get there!

  39. chris g. September 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    Nicole: Re telling kids to go to a house & ask for help. My kids have been riding their bikes around the neighborhood. I told them if there was ever a problem, they should look for a house with toys or a swing set. That the people would have kids & could help them out. I told this to someone & they were shocked that I would tell my kids this. She told me pedophiles could do the same thing & attract unsuspecting kids to their houses. Hansel & Gretel anyone?

  40. Kimberly September 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    My coworker was telling me about a blow up at her child’s daycare. This mom turned up after closing wanting to know were her son was.

    The gym – the kids play and take different classes after school – has an on line if you want more info form. The woman filled it out and considered her child registered.

    She never paid the fees, filled out contact forms, brought her child in for a tour and to pick his classes. Just filled out the more information form on line.

    Mom told the school child was going to the gym. THey put a tag on him and put him on the bus. He hid, and didn’t get off the bus at his stop (this is a school bus dropping the kids off not a daycare van picking them up from school). When the driver did his walk through at the bus barn he found the boy.

    Now this part was foolish on the bus drivers part – he sat for 2 hours in the Texas Heat on the bus with the kids until someone showed up. Friend didn’t know why he didn’t call his supervisor or just take the kid to the gym.

    Mom is trying to get the gym in trouble with the licencing board for not checking to make sure boy got off the bus. Again she NEVER SIGNED UP OR PAID for the services of the gym. In the meantime she is still sending her kid to the gym (small town not many other choices and the others won’t have her now) She is also ticked that she gets charged $$ per min for being late.

  41. Cynthia812 September 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    When my cousin started kindergarten around 1985, he didn’t get off the bus the first day. Turned out, he decided his house was too close to the school, and he wanted a longer ride. No harm, no foul. My daughter started kindergarten last week, and for the first couple of days came home with a sticker with her name, address, and bus number. So I guess our district is not paranoid about bus drivers knowing the kids names.

  42. Gary September 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Yea Warren, she gets told in no uncertain terms by BOTH of us to mind her own business when she starts feeling the need to “speak up.”

  43. Captain America September 7, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    There are a lot of political zealots in Canada.

    If you want fun, see what they do to Catholics up there.

    I’m wondering if the Enlightenment era in western civilization has come to an end.

  44. JM September 7, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    When I was in Kindergarten in 1990 me and my next door neighbor accidentally got on the wrong bus. The other bus made all of its stops before we thought to inform the driver that we were on the wrong bus. You know what happened? The driver asked our address and took us home after notifying the school. Meanwhile the other neighborhood kids had informed our parents that we didnt get on the bus and our parents just figured that we were messing around and missed it called the school and were informed that we were on the wrong bus and would be arriving shortly. There were no police or camera crews involved. We just learned to pay better attention to the numbers on the bus. This took place in Fort Lauderdale so definitely not a small town. This was also before the kids were labeled (the kindergarteners around here have to were visors with their name and bus written on it)I also remember that we got on the wrong bus because they changed the number for the day and all they would do was make an announcement before they rang the bell for dismissal.

  45. Warren September 7, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

    @Captain America

    Just what do they do to Catholics in Canada?

    You see I am a Catholic in Canada, and would really love your insight.

  46. maggie2 September 7, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    When I was I kindergarten (1979)we didn’t have bus service to my Catholic School. My mom always took me and picked me up. One day, I didn’t see her and thought she had forgotten me (she claims she was there….I still think she forget me). I decided to walk home. There was a set of tracks next to my school, and I knew I wasn’t supposed to cross them myself, so I took the loooong way home to avoid them. Because I was only 5, though, I didn’t realize I had to cross tracks on that route, too. My mom was a little worried, there were some tears (from the teacher!) but no one called the police, sent a SWAT team or panicked!! I made it home “uninjured” and quite proud of myself:)
    And speaking of bus drivers NOT being allowed to know the kids names? My kids have had the same bus driver for 7 years, and I hope she stays for the next 12! Her granddaughter is in the same class as my oldest girl. She lives right down the road from us. I would be much more concerned if she didn’t know their names by now!

    But wait…wasn’t Ariel Castro a bus driver who knew the girls’ names?….Maybe I ought to be checking on OUR bus driver!:)

  47. Andrew September 8, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    RFID tags? Why not fingerprints. My kids’ schools (in the UK) have introduced fingerprints for the register, and in the library and the dining hall. They offer a PIN as an alternative, but I foresee a generation who will be accustomed to providing biometric data for such mundane tasks.

  48. Papilio September 8, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Why not a barcode tattoo on the inside of their left wrist…

  49. Katie September 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    The irony though is that these are really stories for the “nothing bad happened files”.

    1. Nothing bad happened to the kid when he ended up in the wrong classroom.

    2. Nothing bad happened to the kid when he got off at the wrong bus stop. In fact, something good happened, other adults stepped in to help him out.

    And as far as the real tragedy when it comes to bus stops is that some helicopter mom’s drive a block in a giant gas guzzler to pick their kids up from one.

  50. Katie September 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    @ Steve

    That reminds me of a great story I heard while watching the US Open. They told the story of how the number one player from Serbia (I forget his name) when at something like 6 he went to train with a coach, be perfectly packed his own bag with all the stuff a tennis pro would and when the coached asked who packed that bag for him, he said “I did”.

  51. TD September 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    I live in the same area as this boy and have one son who took the bus to elementary school the past couple of years. The bus system in the TDSB is chaos and not well managed, BUT although it can be a pain to deal with mix-ups, it’s not exactly unsafe. The kids are dropped off at schools, not at their homes, so it’s not like they’re left stranded and alone on the side of some street they don’t know. If they’re dropped at the wrong school there is usually a staff member or daycare worker (the schools here have daycares in them) waiting for the buses, or the kid can walk into the school and go to the office to call home.

  52. NS September 10, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    I didn’t go through all the comments, but CBC reported yesterday that the bus driver had “resigned” from his position. So now someone has lost their job. I wonder if that makes their kids safer…

  53. NS September 10, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    @Captain America

    I too would like to know what it is that we’re doing to Catholics up here?

    Are they upset about the free land and subsidy for their private schools or something?

  54. Papilio September 10, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    @NS: That rather sounds like something that would upset protestants, not catholics…

  55. NS September 11, 2013 at 9:34 am #


    Not too much, that I’ve seen, at least on religious grounds. But it does upset me… See, I don’t have kids yet, but a portion of my property taxes goes to pay for public schools, I don’t recall how much, but I could look it up, the dollar amount is given on my tax assessment. This is fine, I believe everyone should receive an education, it’s good for them, and it’s good for society, the economy, etc.

    What gets to me is that folks who send their kids to Catholic school (for which they pay a tuition) gat a portion of their public school contribution back, and a sizable one at that. So, I’m using just as much of the public school systems resources as someone sending their kid to Catholic school, yet they get a refund, and I do not? Keep in mind, I don’t want a refund, I don’t think anyone should get one. That’s why it’s called PUBLIC school…

  56. lena fontecchio September 12, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    I had a similar situation the third day of school (first day my son rode the bus) my son is four and ESE and takes the bus and I guess there is a child the next couple blocks over with a similar name and age. When they stopped at my stop, this young kid said “That’s not my mom” and I said “that’s not my son” at the same time. The busdriver called dispatch, they cleared up the problem within three minutes. My son was on the next bus coming, no biggie and this young kid basically was dropped off at the proper stop. I shared this story on FB because I thought it was funny and other moms were outraged on my behalf. Telling me to call the superintendent, go to the media blah blah blah. I said “For what?? a mistake they cleared up within seconds?”. Now if it was a chronic mistake, I would be pissed but it’s not like they let this kid off to fend for himself or force me to take care of him or didn’t track my son. People are LOOKING for a reason to be angry…it’s exhausting and furthermore I now know not to even bother sharing something like this because what I think was a funny situation, others are in a panic and probably start questioning my parenting methods because I’m so nonchalent.

  57. Warren September 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    As for your debates on the Catholic Schools in Canada. I will not speak for any other province, but for Ontario.
    The Catholic/Seperate boards are part and parcel of education in Ontario. Actually was formed before the public boards, but that is a different discussion.
    My brother and I both went to a catholic elementary school. He went to a catholic high school, where I went to the public one. My three kids all went to catholic elementary schools. There are no tuitions, these are not private schools. And are open to any student. They get the same budget per student as any other school, from taxes.
    They are not nuns teaching, they are just teachers, as in any other school.
    There is religion taught, masses held, and visits by the parish priest.
    The biggest difference is the greater sense of community within the school, because of it’s ties to the parish.