How Can I Fight Rule That Says I Must Wait at the School Bus Stop for my 10 year old?

Has kdhsirfyyr
anyone fought a school bus policy requiring adults to wait with their kids at the bus stop? Last year, a ridiculous bill to mandate this for anyone under 7th grade was floated in Rhode Island and, thankfully (with some help from this blog), it died a quiet death. So often, legislators seem to dream up ways to “save” children from nearly non-existent threats. The unintended consequences, meantime, are enormous: Suddenly, an adult has to be available to wait at the bus stop every morning and afternoon till a kid turns 12!

In the case below, it is not a law but a bus company rule that needs to be dropped.  Any advice you’ve got is most appreciated! (Boldface, mine.) – L.

Dear Free-Range Kids: I know I’ve read articles on your site before about school bus or school dismissal ‘policies’ (I put that in quotes because they don’t have actual written policies, just unwritten preferences, requirements, or practices) and I know that some parents have successfully dealt with it, but I don’t know how they did it.

Our school board uses different bus companies – all with different rules, apparently – and one of them has a policy that they will not let any child under 10 years old off the bus without a parent to pick them up.  I know of one driver who won’t even let kids out of the bus if the parent is visible and waving to the driver, unless they are actually right at the bus to get their child.  This is not some 4 year old Kindergartener, but a student in grade 4.  The bus company claims they cannot do it because of ‘liability issues.’  When asked if a parent could fill out a waiver, they said no exceptions will be made.  If the parent refuses to meet their child, they will be driven back to their school and if there is no staff at the school  around to receive the student, the police will be called.

So what I’m wondering is: how did other parents break through these kinds of barriers to Free-Range parenting?

Cheers, T. Doyle

Cheers indeed. It will cheer me to hear of bus companies seeing the light of reason. – L. 

No mommy, no ridee.

Where’s your bodyguard, kid? 

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147 Responses to How Can I Fight Rule That Says I Must Wait at the School Bus Stop for my 10 year old?

  1. Warren February 24, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    Go to the bus company itself. Explain to them that regardless of their rules, that their rules do not trump your parental authority. That their responsibility is to safely get your student to their assigned bus stop. That assigned bus stop is where their responsibility ends, as does their authority.

    If they refuse to comply, then you have to play dirty.
    Make sure you have in writing that they refuse to comply with your wishes. Get a letter on record at the school with your wishes.
    Then make sure your child will tell the bus driver that it is what you want when they get to their stop.
    If the bus driver does not let your kid off, and takes them back to school? Call the police, have them charged. They have held your child against your child’s will and against your will. They cannot do that.

  2. CrazyCatLady February 24, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    I would check the district rules on students walking to school. If students can WALK to school before age 10, then they should be able to get off the bus and walk a half block home, or a few feet to a car if needed. Bring the inconsistency to the attention of the school board if needed, with, hopefully, other parents who also want the same right.

  3. Steven Richards February 24, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    Different school? There are lots of public Montessori schools, and I doubt (hope) this is one.

  4. C. S. P. Schofield February 24, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    My strategy would be similar to Warren’s, with this addition;

    I would obtain a letter on a Lawyer’s letterhead, outlining the legal issues (are children allowed to walk to school. Exactly what legal authority the bus company may have), and a paragraph of intent, stating that unless the bus comany’s clearly illegal policy os not dropped you will take legal action. Obviously, if you have a lawyer friend in the same boat, this will be cheaper, so I’d ask around.

    This gives the company some notice that they are dealing with somebody who is likely to cause a ruckus and cost them money, and potentially saves your kid from an embarrassing interlude.

  5. Emily February 24, 2015 at 9:48 am #

    Maybe I’m being a bit too optimistic here, but does anyone else think that maybe this ridiculous policy will die another “quiet death” after the second or third or fourth time the police are called? Actually, where are the police in all of this? Why aren’t they speaking up and saying, “That’s not a crime, that’s not an emergency,” when people call about (what used to be) commonplace things, like children walking to and from school, or playing outside (in their neighbourhoods, or even in their own YARDS) unsupervised? I was born in 1984, and my parents were on the more overprotective end of the spectrum, but I was walking to and from school in grade three and four (age 8-9), and staying home alone in grade seven (age 12). I don’t think the world has really changed that much since then, except for the sensationalist news stories that make the world appear more dangerous than it really is. In any case, the “drop off and pick up your child at the bus until some arbitrary and absurdly high age cut-off” rule is going to be impossible to enforce. What about kids whose parents work? What about kids who participate in extra-curricular activities that meet right after school? What about kids below the age cut-off who have older siblings? Would they be permitted to get off the bus with their siblings? I guess the only positive thing in all of this is, before, there was talk of making the cut-off age twelve, and now it’s dropped down to ten. There shouldn’t even be such a rule, because it should be a parenting decision, but considering that these “minimum ages” for basic rites of childhood seem to rise every few years, this is at least a baby step in the right direction……..after many, many HUGE steps in the wrong direction.

  6. lollipoplover February 24, 2015 at 10:24 am #

    “they will not let any child under 10 years old off the bus without a parent to pick them up”

    What policies like this do is encourage additional car traffic around bus stops at pick-up and drop-off and actually present MORE of a danger to children than being *alone* at a bus stop.

    I rarely say this on this forum…but go to the police.
    Find out the automobile/kidnapping/crime statistics for your neighborhood and also find out if there are any pedestrian/biking/teaching traffic rules safety courses offered through the police department.
    Most police departments offer finger printing children for abductions so why not tackle the number one risk for childhood death- automobile accident accidents and help prevent them. Some departments teach pedestrian safety (and bus stop safety) because it’s an important life skill we must teach children. I would have them take some course, get certified, show it to the bus driver. The school (and bus company) should strive for educating our children, right? Right?!

    A child of 10 should be capable of waiting for a bus without a security detail. If they are still playing in traffic (or more likely, waiting in the car) then you are doing it wrong. We need to teach them this skill and required supervision isn’t the way. And it’s probably more dangerous (creating one lane traffic around bus stops).

    School children in countries that our taking our jobs away are expected to commute to school at ages of 6.
    Yet American kids are drooling idiots that need can’t handle a basic activity of daily living. There is no basis for this policy. It certainly does not make children safer.

  7. Jenny Islander February 24, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    Yes, why are police departments all over the country permitting themselves to be used as publicly funded private enforcers for all of these unlegislated rules?

  8. ChicagoDad February 24, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    Find a sympathetic ear on the school board and/or PTA (or two, or six).

    Explain that the bus company policies are going to have the unintended consequence of increasing traffic around the school (why would parents wait at around at the bus stop for 20 minutes when they can just drive to school and pick up their kids?). More traffic equals more liability and headaches for the district. Explain that the policies interfere with parents ability to raise their kids with age-appropriate independence. Explain that the bus company rules are in conflict with district rules about how students get to-from school. Some younger kids (7? 8? or 9?) walk all the way to school, 10 yos must be accompanied from the bus stop!?! WTF?!

    Ask your PTA and school board friends to direct the superintendent to contact the bus company. The superintendent should tell the bus company to change their policies or risk losing their contract with the district. They’ll come around then.

  9. Havva February 24, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    The way to fight any of these things is to make noise. Get as many parents together who are on the same page as you to raise the volume. There are so many reasons this is wrong and so many parents who might complain. If you are on Facebook, talk about it there. You never know who will pick up the ball and run with it, and who that conversation will reach.

    Most importantly this isn’t the school district’s doing, but a bus company that has competition, and which operates at the behest of the school board. Which means the school board could tell them they don’t get the elementary school routes, or tell them that their contract will not be renewed if they don’t let the kids go. So I will tell you what a member of the county planning commission told a high school student who mentioned her school considering bicycling too unsafe to allow a bicycling club.

    Go to the school board and complain.

    The school board should have an time slot for members of the public to speak on any topic. Use this, and keep coming back to complain until they listen. The more people you can get to complain the sooner and more sweeping their action is likely to be. The council member giving this advice shared her own free-range battle. She lives across the street from an elementary school. There were crossing guards. And when she thought her daughter ready to walk on her own the principal wouldn’t release the girl to walk home. The planning commission member complained to the school board until the principal was told to let the kid go home. Other parents associated with safe routes to school, and local bicycle clubs, continued complaining until the school board stripped principals from having any authority to determine how children transit to and from school.

    Which is all a long way of saying, these battles have been won elsewhere and you can win them too. Best wishes for your own victory.

  10. Michelle February 24, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    I have to agree with Warren. Don’t phrase it as a choice. Although, I would prefer to threaten to call the police rather than just do it unexpectedly.

    Since my kids are homeschooled, I haven’t had to deal with a school, but my husband and I successfully fought a hospital. After our middle son was born, we were informed that he could not stay in my room with my husband and me since I had not made prior arrangements for this. (I had spoken to my doctor, but he didn’t tell me that I needed to speak to the hospital.) This wasn’t a medical issue, since my son and I were both perfectly healthy, but a blanket policy. I was told that they were “too busy” to “let” me keep my own son.

    I politely informed the nurse that I understood their policy, and that I understood she was trying to do her job, but that she was not taking my son. She simply had no authority to take my child without my permission. When her boss came and insisted that I *must* let them take my son to the nursery, I just repeated myself. At that point, the head nurse said she would call security and take my son by force. My husband told her very nicely that she should go ahead and do that. In the meantime, he would call the police, and we’d see who won.

    Funny, she left and didn’t call security or bother us again.

  11. Michelle February 24, 2015 at 11:04 am #

    (Although, if it gets to the point where the police are being called, YOU need to be calling first. Best for you to be standing out of sight near the bus stop so you can call as soon as they don’t release your child, rather than play defense after the school has called the cops on you.)

  12. Neil M February 24, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    I think Emily is on to something here; enough calls from the school bus operators and the police are going to decide that enough is enough. However, it’s possible that until that breaking point is reached, some parents may find themselves caught in the gears of the fear machine. Go ask the Meitvits about that.

  13. dot February 24, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    Caveat: I think this is a stupid argument that I present below (because the whole policy is stupid, no matter who it impacts), but it is one likely to work if a free range argument does not.

    I would fight this on the grounds of that it is discriminatory against low income and single parents, and following that, discriminatory against at risk kids. Being at the bus stop to meet your 4th grader is something that not every parent can do. I’d bet it has disparate impact on minorities, even! 🙂

    Personal note:
    I’ve actually worried a bit about this, as we have one bus driver who has occasionally subbed our route, who would not let the my 4th grader and 5th grade neighbor off the bus one day because no one was there. They finally showed her their keys, to prove they could get in their houses, and she finally let them off.
    Perhaps that could be a tactic to try, that the bus company lets the kid off if they have a key.

  14. ARM February 24, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    Lollypoplover makes a very good point: the most dangerous thing about a kid getting off a schoolbus is being hit by a car as they do so, and making parents DRIVE to the bus stop simply increases this danger. Sadly, I don’t believe the authorities have the sense to listen to such an argument though.

  15. Jill February 24, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    Isn’t that kidnapping, if your child wishes to disembark from the bus and the driver won’t allow it? Certainly children in in third or fourth grade know how to walk from the bus stop to their house. I did it in kindergarten, but then I sometimes used to ride home with the bus driver — a jolly old fellow named Tuckey — and ride his horses. I was thrown off a few times but never once was I kidnapped or sold into sex slavery.
    I’d write a letter to the bus company pointing out that other bus companies serving the school district allow children to leave the bus at their stop without a parent or guardian waiting for them and that you want your child to be treated as other district students are and to be let off by him/herself. Your wishes as a parent should trump their “liability issues” nonsense.

  16. Donna February 24, 2015 at 11:51 am #

    It depends on what you actual goal is.

    If you just want to allow your child to get off the bus without a parent, then Warren presents a pretty good course of action. It isn’t legally sound as a person (company) taking responsibility for your child (or anything of yours actually) does have a right to control the terms of that responsibility or to refuse to take responsibility altogether, but, in general, people would rather avoid confrontation and will likely concede if pressed, particularly considering the school may be obligated to provide other transportation for your child if the bus company refuses to transport him/her.

    If you want to change the rule for everyone, you have to get more families involved and willing to speak out against the rule. The company is not going to change a rule because one person is pressing for it, but may if there are lots of people pressing for it.

  17. Danielle Meitiv February 24, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    I wouldn’t wait for the police to be called – as my kids can attest, that is VERY traumatic experience.

    Recently, we gave the bus driver a letter giving our kids explicit permission to get off the bus by themselves, with no adult present. Yes, that goes for the six-year old, too, even if her brother isn’t there). If it’s school policy, you can also give one to the school. If they balk include a line saying that you take full responsibility for their safety. (They’re mainly worried about liability anyway), AND remind them that they do NOT have the right to overrule you as a parent.

  18. Edward February 24, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    If you are going to a school board meeting remember, you MUST have your topic (“bus policy”) on the meeting agenda or the board will not consider it or take any action on it. Contact the board to learn the procedure for doing this. Most agendas are finalized up to a week in advance and cannot be changed before the meeting.
    Just bringing this issue up during “public input time” will most likely result in it being ignored.
    School board members are politicians and the meetings have rules they and you must follow for action to be taken.
    I speak from experience in dealing with a Board of Commissioners meeting in Georgia both as public input and as a listed agenda item – it makes a difference! And don’t back down if they try to tell you you can’t be listed as an agenda item. Get others to assist in putting it on. Good Luck.

  19. bobca February 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    Lots of good ideas here.

    My advice, forward a formal letter that reminds the bus service that “they work for you”, and that you will not allow them to dictate parental decisions to you. Let them know that you will not be at the bus stop, and that you will call the police to report them for kidnapping if they take your child anywhere but the assigned bus stop.

    They have no right to enforce their “policy” by kidnapping your children.

  20. Donna February 24, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    “:remind them that they do NOT have the right to overrule you as a parent.”

    This is a complete fallacy. People interacting with your children overrule you as a parent on a regular basis. Sometimes they even do it with you right there. If you want to have total control over your children, you need to keep them confined to your property at all times. Otherwise, other people control what happens on their property and in their homes and even in their vehicles.

    I think this rule is completely stupid, but expecting that you can give people responsibility over your children and yet still make 100% of the rules is equally stupid.

  21. Laura February 24, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

    The school where my kids were last year had a policy like this. I think it was the school that told the bus drivers they had to see a parent waiting, otherwise they should not drop the kid off. I just talked to the bus driver one morning and promised him that an adult would always be home after school and the kid would be just fine walking on her own. He was OK with that.

  22. Donna February 24, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    Folks, it is not kidnapping if a bus driver takes your children to the exact place they told you that they would take your children if you weren’t at the bus stop. Throwing around stupid threats doesn’t increase your argument in the least.

  23. Scott February 24, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    Go to the bus driver, and calmly tell them, that if they don’t release your child at the school district designated point, and drive away with your child, you call the police and have them arrested for kidnapping. Business policies cannot trump laws.

    On a more serious note, if the district has multiple bus companies, and do not have a comprehensive set of policies that drive the contractors (remember, the district is purchacing their services, so this is no different than any other contractacual arrangement), then you need to get to the school board meetings and speak up. Get you friends, whether they have kids in school or not – as long as they are taxpayers and voters – and pack the meeting. Demand that the policies are consistent across all bus companies and that they leave authority with the parents, where it properly belongs. Remind the school board that you and your friends vote. Also, when they publish the policies, make sure they are following your state law on public comment periods, etc. Make sure you flood the comments in the direction you want it to go. The great advantage you have, in general, most people don’t pay attention to local politics (for better or worse – since local laws effect your life far more than state or federal laws do).

    If that doesn’t work, then you have two choices, either file suit (and I tried to find a good Constitutional point to stand on, but I’m not seeing an obvious one in the Bill of Rights, but I’m not a lawyer), or run for school board. Again, not many people pay attention to local elections, and it may not take many supporters to get you elected.

  24. Papilio February 24, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    Yet another good reason to want proper cycling infrastructure :-E

  25. Randy February 24, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    And if you’re aren’t there to meet the bus, then what? The letter doesn’t say.

    Does the kid go back to the garage with the bus? Or back to school? Either way, someone ends up responsible for the kid after the bus stop and I’ll bet they don’t want that.


  26. Scott February 24, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    I’d agree that one does have to be careful about tossing out threats, and that’s why I made my comment half-jokingly. All I meant to say was, it’s a way to very firmly get your point across to the bus driver – gives them skin in the game to get the company to change policies, since they are now between not following policy and getting fired, or following policy and getting arrested. I don’t like doing this, as the poor bus driver gets caught in the middle. As to the objections that it’s an empty threat, I’m not so sure. I’m going to guess that the policy has some support under legal doctrine of en loco parentis, whereby adults are assumed to have some parental rights and protections as far as the child’s safety is conerned, and we should be happy this is part of our common law. That said, once you have made your objections and wishes known, that should relieve them of that defense, against kidnapping. The only time when I could then see that they could reassert that responsibility is if the driver sees something going on that threatening (your house is on fire, or there’s a tornado coming, etc.), but then, we want them to do that.

    I guess I have argued myself in to this response. Notify the school, the school board, the bus company that you appreciate their desire to keep your child safe and that you hope and expect that they will continue to do so in exceptional circumatances, but in the case of normal every day coming home, you chose to exercise your partental rights and responsibilities, and relieve them of their en loco parentis responsibilites, and ask that the child be let off the bus even when you are not present. I would put at the end, if they chose not to respect this choice you have made, they can contact your lawyer with the reasons why.

    The old saying is you catch more flys with honey than vinegar, and starting out calmly, rationally, and professionally might actualy work. The reference to your lawyer will let them know you mean business. If it needs to be escalated from their, you can show that you took the high road, you tried to be reasonable and professional, and they blew you off. Puts you in a good light and them not.

  27. Jenny Islander February 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    I think pointing out the discriminatory practice involved in assuming that all families can afford to leave an adult at home during school hours is sound. Also, speaking as a stay-at-home mother, if there is more than one child in the home, how is this supposed to even work? When my oldest was six, I had a four-year-old and a babe in arms. Let’s say she’s still six and I live in this school district. Am I supposed to keep the little ones up if they are tired and need a nap at bus stop time, so that I won’t be leaving them alone in the house? Anybody going to help me calm them down afterward, since they’re going to be upset all afternoon and possibly into the evening? When it’s blowing 30, or 40, or 50, or the sidewalk is a gnarled mass of bumpy ice and snow berms, am I still supposed to drag them out? What if one of them is too sick to go out at all?

    Am I supposed to magically have known years ahead of time that this bus company would pull this shenanigan, and spaced my children to suit this nutty rule? Or is it that if I were a good person I would have the money and community connections needed to find a babysitter on short notice who was willing to risk catching whatever my children had?

  28. Emily February 24, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    Another thing–does anyone else remember Elmer the Safety Elephant from their youth? We learned about him in kindergarten, as part of a children’s traffic safety program. I haven’t seen or heard any mention of this since then, though, because it seems as if “look both ways (or all ways) before you cross the street” has been superseded by “children can never go anywhere unescorted by an adult.”

  29. Marie Inshaw February 24, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    Is it kidnapping?
    Last year or a couple of years ago, an adult woman was kidnapped (according to the city council and the press) by a taxi driver when the two had a disagreement about payment of the fare. He wanted cash, she wanted to pay with a card (cabs were recently made to take cards). I’m not sure if the cabbie mentioned an exact ATM he was going to take her to, but when he locked her in the car and failed to let her out at her home it became kidnapping. If he just let her out it would be theft (sort of) on her part.
    So apply this to a kid. Driver fails to release passenger at agreed to location, it’s kidnapping. Even when they intend to take you (or your kid) to an alternative location you have not agreed to.

  30. Eric S February 24, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    I have to agree with Warren. I’ll also add, if the bus refuses to let your kid(s) off the bus, and proceeds to take them back to their school where there are no staff to attend to them, charge them for kidnapping and endangering your child.

    What’s more dangerous? Letting the kid(s) off the bus so they can walk a few meters to their house, where their parents can see them from the window? Or taking them back to a school with no one to watch them? Doesn’t take a genius to get the correct answer to that question.

    Point being, it’s neither law, nor an official rule (since it wasn’t written). The bus company is just doing this to lazily cover their asses. But in doing so, endangers the children far more than a parent “would” by allowing their kids to walk from the bus to their home on their own…at age 9-10 years old. Which is more than old enough to know how to cross the street properly.

    Press them. You aren’t doing anything wrong by allowing your child to walk from the bus to your home. And the fact that you would be willing to sign a waiver so that the bus company is absolved of any law suits if something should happen to the child between getting off the bus and getting to their doorstep. You have rights as a parent. As long as you use common sense and reason, you should never have to compromise how you raise your children. Just because some children are ill equipped to fend for themselves by the age of 10, doesn’t mean ALL children 10 and under are just as incompetent. This, and many issues like this should never be generalized. Authorities and institutions should be treating each case as individual cases. Not some blanket rule or notion for all.

    @Emily: The problem with this situation is, if no one speaks up, it would be like feeding the flames. This is how we went from a free-range mentality (from the mid 90’s and earlier), to the paranoid, sanctimonious attitude of people today. No one spoke up. They accepted this negative change, and it just started to steam roll to how it is today. Words are powerful tools. And if the wrong words are being accepted, we have a terrible outcome.

  31. T. Doyle February 24, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    Randy, the letter does mention what happens if the parent isn’t there: the bus goes back to the home school to drop off the student and if the staff are no longer there, they will call the police.

    Donna, my goal is to change the system, not just what happens with this one kid. This isn’t even my kid I’m fighting for. I’m a school council chair and parent ward rep and trying to figure out how to navigage the system for another parent. My kids are on a bus with a different company and had no problems (not even a note or waiver requried) being let off of the bus in grade 4 without me.

    Thanks to everyone for their feedback and ideas! So far I have contacted the bus company and they said they will not accept a waiver from the parents, no exceptions. I have also contacted transportation services at the school board, who seem to want parents to just go along with their inconsistent and inequitable rules, but I’m still pushing it. Calling in the police is not an action I’d like to see; not only would it be stressful for the kid, but it really shouldn’t have to be escalated to that point. Also, threatening to call the police is likely to just get the bus company to refuse to take the student on the bus in the first place. The board is supposed to provide bussing, but I don’t know if they’d provide an alterate bus company.

    There are no policies at our board that deal with this, just unwritten ‘preferences,’ ‘guidelines,’ and ‘school rules.’ If the child was being dismissed from the school they are dropped off at, they would be allowed to walk home, but if they get off of a bus rather than walk out of the building – even though it is the SAME walk home – they are not allowed. Once they reach grade 6 they are no longer bussed, so how is the kid supposed to get practise walking home or taking public transit from middle school if they aren’t allowed to walk home in elementary school?

  32. jennifer February 24, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    My suggestion is, if possible, make up a release form which relieves the bus company of any liability when children of any age are dropped off at the bus stop, and have every parent of the children on the bus submit one to the company. After this, pick a day and have all the parents band together and NOT be there for drop off. If they have to return ALL the kids on the bus back to school repeatedly, eventually the school will get involved and probably back the parents. If the bus company doesn’t comply, there are other companies out there

  33. Reziac February 24, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    My first question is — how many of these kids actually need to ride the bus? How many are within a mile or so of home, and therefore could just as easily walk or bike home??

    Maybe if we weren’t so dependent on these chauffers-for-kids, they couldn’t hold such rules over us.

  34. Eric S February 24, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    @ Donna. I would consider it kidnapping when the bus driver doesn’t comply with my wishes for MY kids. They don’t have your permission to withhold your child from you. It’s an “unwritten rule” that they are imposing. And by leaving your kids back at the school, they endanger them much more when there is no one to watch out for them when they are taken back to the school. Unless the bus driver stays with them until they are picked up by the parents. In which case, let them wait. lol

    I can’t see it being any different if a divorce couple had custody issues. If i’m not suppose to have my kids at a certain date, but I take them to my place anyway (against my wife’s wishes who has legal custody of them at that date), that would still be considered kidnapping. Yet they are taken to a place that was approved by the court and the parents.

    Or anyone of us saying, we are going to hold on to your kids because we feel your endangering them, but with no actual proof other than how we feel. We would be charged for unlawful detention, and possible kidnapping.

    If there is no definitive official rule about not letting kids get off the bus without parents present to pick them up, there is no law, and the parents are insistent on letting them off, but the bus driver won’t. That is going against the wishes of the parents. And with the bus driver taking off with them, that is kidnapping.

  35. Caroline February 24, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    Last year, I allowed my 6-7 year old (grade 2) daughter to walk to the school bus alone. She had to walk about 350 ft, then wait until the bus stopped and cross the road. One of my friends, who had a son on the same bus, was amazed and worried, and often went to cross the road with my daughter (although she was more concerned about her being abducted by a stranger than hit by a car. lol).

    I recently decided to allow both my girls, now aged 8 (grade 3) and 5 (sk) to walk to and from the bus alone. The bus company’s policy is that kindergarteners must be met from the bus. I told the driver one morning that I wouldn’t be meeting them from the bus any more, and I got a phone call from the driver’s supervisor later in the morning, saying that I would need to put it in writing. I did that, and there have been no problems.

    I was actually surprised that they didn’t have a problem with this, and I was prepared to argue my point and make a fuss!

  36. Donna February 24, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

    Eric S – The definition of kidnapping varies by state but in no state is it defined as “going against the wishes of parents.” A police officer might tell them to just let the kid off the bus from then on, but he is never going to arrest the bus driver for kidnapping and is more likely to yell at you for putting your child in danger these days.

    This notion that you can give someone the responsibility of transporting your child (or dog or book) someplace but you still maintain total control over the process and only your rules apply is ridiculous and has no basis in the law.

    Again, I think the rule is stupid, but making a bunch of pointless threats is also stupid. I think the best argument is that the school district needs ONE set of rules and they need to be in writing.

  37. Warren February 24, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    Sorry but your scenario is a little off. The school and by extension their transport company has been charged with safely getting students from school to their designated stops, and as long as they comply with the laws, including traffic laws, yes it is in their control. Once they have reached the designated stop, they have completed the job to which they are contracted. What happens after that is none of their business, not their responsibility and therefore your authority is the one to be recognized.

    Kidnapping is probably a no go, but you would have a good shot at unlawful detention, as bus line rules are not law, and thus the bus driver has no lawful reason to detain your child.

  38. Douglas February 24, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    Sounds like kidnapping to me.

  39. Douglas February 24, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

    There should be a legal fund to fight things like this. Homeschoolers have this with the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. There should be something for free-range parents of public school children.

  40. Richard February 24, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    The first question I have is the contents of the contract between the bus company and the District. Unless the contract forbids it in some way, the bus company may certainly tell you that it will transport your child under the terms set out in its policy. You may choose not to have the company transport your child if you disagree with those policies. Threats about calling the police and accusing the company of kidnapping for following policies you were aware of when you chose to utilize their services will likely be forwarded to their attorneys who will get a good laugh. It is a decision on the part of the District as to whether it will contract with a company that imposes these conditions (or it enforces contract provisions which disallow such policies), and pressure on the District is most likely to get it changed.

  41. Angel February 24, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    Wow. We are arguing with the school right now over them not letting my kindergarten son off the bus without my husband standing outside waiting for it. He is home every day when my son gets home and he gets the call from the school every afternoon because no one was standing outside waiting. It has been a cold winter here in IL and my husband doesn’t want to stand outside waiting for 20+ minutes for a bus. My son can be dropped off from 3:55 to 4:20 depending on the day and how many kids are riding home on the bus that day. He had told the district transportation director numerous times to just let him off the bus. And that he will be able to get in the house. just so you know the bus stop is in our front yard at the mail box. It’s not like he even has to walk that far, and the bus driver can see the vehicle in the driveway to know someone is there. And even if my husband isn’t home for some reason we have taught our son where the spare key is and to unlock the door put the key back and call Dad. The number is on the board. If Dad doesn’t answer then he is to call Grandma because the lives 2 miles up the road.

  42. Emily February 24, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    >>The first question I have is the contents of the contract between the bus company and the District. Unless the contract forbids it in some way, the bus company may certainly tell you that it will transport your child under the terms set out in its policy. You may choose not to have the company transport your child if you disagree with those policies. Threats about calling the police and accusing the company of kidnapping for following policies you were aware of when you chose to utilize their services will likely be forwarded to their attorneys who will get a good laugh. It is a decision on the part of the District as to whether it will contract with a company that imposes these conditions (or it enforces contract provisions which disallow such policies), and pressure on the District is most likely to get it changed.<<

    @Richard–That may be true in theory, but in reality, it's not a "choice" for a lot of families. Families with only one (or no) vehicle might have no alternative but the school bus for their children. The same goes for families with two cars, if both parents' work schedules preclude driving their children to school. Yes, yes, they could simply "choose" to live closer to the school, but there are other variables. Maybe the home they have is the one they can afford. Maybe there is another school that they live closer to, but their child is in a specific program that is only offered at the further school. Add in the fact that neighbourhood schools are becoming a thing of the past, and more and more schools are being built on the outskirts of everything (or, the school gets built first, and then houses get built near the school), and you get a lot of kids who can't get to school on their own steam. Yes, there are some affluent families who can afford a nanny to drive the kids to school (or homeschooling, or a private school with less restrictive policies), or parents with flexible work hours that they can adjust around pick-up or drop-off times, but for a lot of people, it's not a choice. Since school is mandatory by law, they can't just not send their children, and if the school bus is the only feasible option for them, it creates a lot of problems if the terms of the contract make it unusable for anyone who can't drop their kids off and pick them up at the bus, let alone anyone who feels (rightfully) that the bus company shouldn't be telling them how to parent.

  43. Emily February 24, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

    P.S., I forgot to mention, for a lot of families, these policies weren’t in place when their kids started taking the bus–they unilaterally changed the rules mid-stream, to the detriment of kids’ natural development (because it’s not good for kids to be escorted through every waking moment of life by an adult), and parents’ jobs (because it’s not feasible to go in late and leave early every day to accommodate the kid’s school bus schedule).

  44. Warren February 24, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    Just out of curiousity, does this rule mean that a student at the bus stop in the morning without their parent their won’t be allowed to get on the bus, to go to school?

    If they allow them on with no parent there, they have no standing to not let them off with no parent there.

  45. Havva February 24, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

    @T. Doyle,
    It sounds like you are in a good position to solve this.
    Your description of the transportation services at the school board “who seem to want parents to just go along with their inconsistent and inequitable rules”… sounds like a group that would be easily embarrassed by a public outcry. They just want to do the easy thing, make it easier to tell the bus company “let the kids off the bus.”

    You already have the two of you who are opposed to the winging it policy. And from your titles it sounds like you might have contact info for other parents. Perhaps you could send out a feeler and find out on a broad level what sorts of issues people are/aren’t encountering with busing including this issue. Then organize the parents.

    You could even see if your kids know other kids who get off the bus without a parent standing right there. Perhaps they could ask class mates to scout other routes. Any kid getting off without a parent in sight, is someone who might take an interest in this issue. After all with this policy at one company, there is nothing to keep the kids currently getting off the bus with no problems from encountering problems if the routes change.

  46. Emily Morris February 24, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    T. Doyle, continue making noise at these meetings. Be the squeaky wheel. Spread it over Facebook, and in a roundabout way make everyone involved look like idiots.

    It’s a stupid and dangerous policy.

  47. Richard February 24, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

    Emily, I didn’t mean to give short shrift to those families for whom this causes a real problem. Rather, I was looking only at the legal analysis of the bus company’s authority to control the terms upon which it provides services. I absolutely agree that this kind of policy can cause real practical problems for families that are often overlooked by those making the decisions, and would stand with any parent challenging such a policy.

  48. Warren February 24, 2015 at 6:04 pm #


    Just a quick question, what gives any company authority to dictate how a client gets to or from their location?

  49. Donna February 24, 2015 at 6:10 pm #


    If I agree to take responsibility for something, I have a say in how I give up that responsibility. It is really that simple. You are not going to win a fight with the airline about having to sign your child off the plane. You are not going to win a fight about camp about signing your child out of camp. You are simply going to be told “don’t like our rules, don’t use our services.” The bus company can say the same thing. It becomes a matter of whether the school is then obligated to find you other transportation or not.

    No way in hell is the bus driver being arrested for anything. The absolute best that you can hope for is for the cop to tell the bus driver that he has to let the child leave the bus. Most likely you will get talked to about even calling them as the police department is not there to resolve your disputes over bus policies.

    Even if there was any chance that the bus driver would be arrested, it is always stupid to promise or threaten something that you cannot personally deliver. You cannot arrest anyone. You cannot force the police to arrest anyone. The only thing that you can do is call the police them to arrest the bus driver. So threatening arrest just makes you look like an idiot.

    “If they allow them on with no parent there, they have no standing to not let them off with no parent there.”

    You have hit on the crux of the issue that you don’t seem to understand. This is all about who has responsibility for the child at the time the decision is made. The bus company has absolutely no responsibility for your child BEFORE they get on the bus, therefore any decisions made before the child gets on the bus are out of their hands completely. The bus company has no right to vote on what your child eats for breakfast or how they dress or how they get to the bus stop because those decisions all come before the bus takes responsibility. However, once the bus company takes responsibility for your child, it has every right to make a decision as to how IT gives up that responsibility. It is not making a parenting decision; it is making a business decision that controls its actions that just happens to impact your parenting.

    Personally, I think the rule is stupid. Not because the bus company doesn’t have a right to make decisions as to how it controls its own business operations, even if those decisions affect other people, but because it is based on senseless fear.

  50. Warren February 24, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    The point is that the bus line is responsible for transporting students from A to B, and that is where their responsibility ends.

    What’s next the bus line gets to tell you that you have to take them directly home, from their stop. That you cannot take them to another location, like a pool or whatever?

    If my kid says they are to get off the bus, I have informed the driver that my kid is to get off the bus, and the driver decides not to because of his company policy………….I would love to push for the unlawful dention. We are talking about human beings not your blue ray that you ordered on line.

  51. Emily February 24, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

    >>Emily, I didn’t mean to give short shrift to those families for whom this causes a real problem. Rather, I was looking only at the legal analysis of the bus company’s authority to control the terms upon which it provides services. I absolutely agree that this kind of policy can cause real practical problems for families that are often overlooked by those making the decisions, and would stand with any parent challenging such a policy.<<

    Richard, I'm glad you understand. I think this policy must cause problems for MOST families, because this isn't the 1950's, when June Cleaver stayed home with Wally and Beaver, and cooked them a hot breakfast in the mornings, and was waiting for them with freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies and milk in a glass bottle when they arrived home from school, and cooked and cleaned and played bridge all day in between. Actually, that's not even a good example, because back then, kids independently walked or rode bikes to and from school, or the bus stop. But, my point is, a typical morning for a most families today would consist of everybody waking up, getting ready for work and school, and going off in different directions at the same time–parents going to two separate workplaces in two separate vehicles, kids going to school, either walking (not likely), on the school bus, or driven by their parents.

    For the "bus" option, when I was in school, the understanding was that the school board provided bus service for those who lived outside walking distance, whose parents couldn't drive them to and from school. The reason why their parents couldn't drive them was irrelevant, but in a lot of cases, it was because they had to be at work at the same time. So, the parents drove to and from work on their schedule (usually 9-5), and the kids took the bus to and from school (slightly shorter day; usually 9-3:30 for elementary school, and 8-2:30 for high school). To require parents to meet their kids at the bus stop after school, would literally defeat the purpose of the school bus for a lot of families…..who are still legally mandated to send their kids to school, and don't have any other way to get them there. I know that you understand this, but what I don't understand is, why don't the school boards and bus companies understand?

  52. Emily February 24, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

    @Warren–Donna is a lawyer, and whether or not the bus company’s rules are fair, her interpretation of the situation is probably right. That’s not to say that parents shouldn’t fight it, but it’s probably not as simple as saying, “My child, my rules,” because the bus company can counter that with “Our buses, our rules.” Yes, it’s wrong and unfair, but it’s the (other) Golden Rule–He or she who has the gold (in this case, the free transportation to and from school), makes the rules.

  53. VZ February 24, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

    I don’t have any advice unfortunately, but I also am going through a similarly stupid bus stop situation with my own 4th grader. She walks to and from the bus stop, but 2 days a week she has an after school program and takes a late bus home. After getting off the late bus she is the only one at her stop. The first time the driver questioned my daughter extensively, hold is she she, what grade is she in, does she know her way home, has she walked it before.
    She’s been walking to and from the bus stop for 2 school years now. Her but stop is 1000 feet from our house. If you want to get super technical, it is a walk of exactly 1,052feet.
    Last time she took the late bus it dropped her off directly in front of my house. I was out checking the mail and the bus driver stopped me and said she was going to ask to get my daughter’s stop changed to directly in front of my house.
    I asked “why?” And the driver looked at me like I was nuts and said “well, her stop is so far from here, and she walks ALL ALONE!” let me say again 1,000 feet.

    We’ve also has the police called on us by a “concerned neighbor” who saw my daughter “wandering the neighborhood alone”. “Was she doing anything wrong?” I asked the officer who came to my door. “No, she was just seen wandering the neighborhood.” Get this…she was walling home from the bus stop. You’d hope once I told the officer that it would be the end of it, but no, he wanted to see and talk to my daughter first.

    He verified with name, age, grade and what she was doing walking around the neighborhood with her and left.

    I hope you get the situation worked out with the bus company. It’s utterly ridiculous.

  54. Mushy February 24, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

    Have someone with their camera/phone across the street from the stop, far enough back that both the bus stop and where Mother is standing are visible in the frame. When the bus refuses to let the kid off because Mother is not RIGHT THERE, but is clearly within sight, show the photo to the school/police to prove you were definitely there to pick up your kid, and the driver kidnapped your child.

    Shoe’s on the other foot, bus company.

  55. SteveS February 24, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    I agree with Donna’s assessment. I don’t believe the driver will be arrested under the circumstances described. As for the insurance excuse, I have heard this enough times that I am doubtful. It is a good excuse, as most people think insurance policies are onerous.

  56. Jen February 24, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    I had a very similar question not long ago – as it turned out, collective-parental lore had us all believing that we had to wait for our children until they were 12. You know how information spreads between parent circles. I called the bus company to find out what the actual policy was — and was told that each school district informs them as to the policy. For our school, it is 3rd grade.

    If the suggestions above don’t work. . .perhaps if you lobbied your school set a policy, the bus company would enforce it. In the absence of a policy (absolving them of liability) they are setting their own.

  57. Sarah J February 24, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

    A lot of parents at my parent’s neighborhood drive their kids to the bus stop and wait with them in the car until the bus comes. It’s so ridiculous, sometimes it clutters the street, I find it insane that some places have this as policy.

    On a side note, I can’t help but feel that such a policy is discriminatory to low-income and working parents, who might not be around for that.

  58. Warren February 24, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    Let’s put this in terms of making a parcel delivery. For all purposes that is all a bus driver is doing, delivering a student to the school and back.

    I still have tires delivered to my home, as I maintain my garage shop for family and friends. The tires are dropped off even when no one is there to accept them. Why? Because the courier companies that make the deliveries have been instructed to do so.

    Now by Donna’s logic, they should be able to tell me that I cannot do that. Wrong. They work for me, and do as they are told. The moment they are told that is the way I want it, it absolves them of that responsibility.

    Same with the bus, if the parent says let them off, you damn well let them off. People have got to start growing a set, and stop letting/allowing others to walk all over them.

    I know a lot of you don’t like my in your face ways, but they work more often than not. And from what I have seen and heard they work a helluvalot more than being the nice guy. There is something to the saying “Nice guys finish last.”. That saying had to come from somewhere, and sayings like that always have some grounding in the truth.

  59. Warren February 24, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

    And can we drop the whole working family, single vehicle, low income excuses. Kids do not need to be handheld to and from the bus no matter how much money you make. And if I had the kind of money to hire a nanny, I would rather she be at the house getting stuff done, than wasting time doing something that I wouldn’t do myself.

  60. Donna February 24, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    “The point is that the bus line is responsible for transporting students from A to B, and that is where their responsibility ends.”

    That may be the point that you are trying to make, but it is incorrect. Repeatedly stating it doesn’t make it suddenly become correct. That you are wrong is plainly evident in any number of conveyances that control how children get on and off – planes, buses, trains all have various rules as to the picking up and dropping off of unaccompanied minor travelers (to the extent they even let them travel). But go and make a stink at the airport about the unaccompanied minor policies and see which happens first – your kid gets on the plane or you get arrested for disrupting air travel.

    Emily is right, the point is not that you shouldn’t fight, it is that you should fight smart and not like a blowhard. Telling the bus company “my kid, my rules” isn’t a valid argument as they have every right to set rules for their transport of children and their response can easily be “my bus, my rules so get off.” (Although, as I said, I do think it would more likely than not be effective for the one kid; not because you are right, but because most people hate confrontation). And, even if successful, only solves the problem for your family and doesn’t actually change the rule. Convincing the bus or the school district that the rule is ridiculous is a much smarter choice.

  61. Donna February 24, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

    No, Warren, by my logic the courier company CAN tell you that they will not drop the tires off without a signature. In fact, the tire company can send the tires to you requiring a signature for delivery against your wishes. Anyone who has ever gotten a certified letter can attest that the post office absolutely will not deliver it without your signature no matter how much of a fuss you put up or how many times you try to tell them “my mail, my rules” or that they work for you.

    But CAN is not MUST and the companies (both courier and tire) can take the stance that most do today that they couldn’t possibly care less what happens to your tires after they get dumped in your yard per your instructions so whatever you say goes. But that is 100% their choice and they can totally make a different one and insist on a signature at delivery.

  62. Resident Iconoclast February 24, 2015 at 10:53 pm #

    Warren is correct. No doubt it technically is “unlawful imprisonment” in my state, for the bus driver to hold the child against his will under the facts Warren described. But then you have to convince a police officer to take the step of writing up a report and perhaps arresting the bus driver. This is exceedingly unlikely to happen.

    Not only that, but from experience I can tell you that if you want to try playing hardball with any public school district, you had better be prepared for nuclear war. They will call the child protection authorities and you’ll spend thousands defending yourself.

    So here’s what I’d do, if I found myself in a state of outrage being threatened with such things. I guess I’d do everything Warren suggested, including writing the letters and setting it up all like he described. At the final step, however, I wouldn’t be calling the police. I’d be calling the child protection authorities, and accusing that bus driver of sexually molesting my child.

    Also from experience, I can tell you that instead of playing offense, for at least quite awhile the district would be playing defense.

    Of course, one has to be careful what one asks for. Why surrender your constitutional rights when you have children, by sending them to the imperious, dictatorial, crypto-fascist public schools? I know a lot of people can’t afford private schools. On the other hand, a lot of North Koreans would give everything they have, to get away from their “Dear Leader.”

  63. Puzzled February 24, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

    I ordered a $5 tube of cream shoe polish. For some reason, the vendor decided to require a signature. UPS tells me there’s nothing they can do, and I’m going to have to find the time to drive to their warehouse after having paid for shipping on this $5 purchase. Seems to me that companies can refuse to let you waive responsibility.

    >You cannot arrest anyone.

    My general belief is not to argue with a lawyer on law, and certainly the idea of saying “I’ll have you arrested for kidnapping” strikes me as wrongheaded and a bad tactic. At the same time, is the above actually true? Don’t most states still have the concept of citizen’s arrest?

  64. caiti February 25, 2015 at 2:49 am #

    @Douglas- I love love love the idea of a free range kids legal defense fund. In this country, money buys everything from power to influence to the ability to exercise your constitutional rights. Especially when it comes to court. Does anyone know how to start this? I would shut off my Comcast service and donate my extra $150 a month.

  65. sexhysteria February 25, 2015 at 3:17 am #

    Does the bus company provide seat belts for every child passenger? If not, that’s a far more likely cause of child death or serious injury than no adult waiting at the stop.

  66. Mark February 25, 2015 at 3:49 am #

    How Can I Fight Rule That Says I Must Wait at the School Bus Stop for my 10 year old? | Free…

    As you might well know far better than I, doucments about the rule’s genesis, purported basis, enforcement history, etc. might be available under some so-called “Sunshine law(s)” or some State law more or less tracking the federal Freedom of Information Act. I suppose it might be worthwhile in NYC to see what the “Public Advocate’s Office might say/do or to publicly direct aggrieved parent(s), (311)? I’m in no position/state to render legal advice, but as with so many other “rights,” vindication might well require enormous legal bills, or else the interest of the ACLU or some lawyer(s) prepared to render services pro bono. I’d be salivating, so to speak, if not for my atrotious medical condition, and needing my partners’ backing in any event. Hard to imagine no parents have violated this rule, without paying some draconian price. That said, I’m picking my jaw up off the floor several times a month at atrocities you have so compellingly, heroically, productively underscored critiqued ever so keenly — with priceless wit, compassion, courage, reason . , , ,

    Not appropos of this battle, I imagine, but I’ve frequently forgotten to mention that my small NJ town (Hopatcong) had a 9:30 curfew for kids unatttended by an adult. I figured then and still do after extensive legal training/practice that such a curfew would not stand a good-faith legal challenge. One, that is, that does not run afoul of some activist, unscrupulous right-wing jurists. Many friends and I broke the curfew repeatedly with our parents’ blessing. Including heading home afoot from Boy Scout meetings. Local cops were none too eager to incarcerate us or our parents back then (circa 1973). I was an Eagle Scout, which might have (further?) piqued the interest of local media, even the ACLU perhaps. Not that I deserved special treatment on that account, but I suppose I might have made a compelling plainfiff for a “test case” — so to speak. However ill-founded, obviously the curfew indicated that authorities had no notion, no intention, no basis, to hassle us or our parents for being out and about unattended by adults before 9:30. Within reason, anyway: I don’t imagine anyone would have sent toddlers out and about on the roads after dark to take a somewhat extreme hypothetical example.

  67. Emily February 25, 2015 at 7:37 am #

    >>And can we drop the whole working family, single vehicle, low income excuses. Kids do not need to be handheld to and from the bus no matter how much money you make. And if I had the kind of money to hire a nanny, I would rather she be at the house getting stuff done, than wasting time doing something that I wouldn’t do myself.<<

    @Warren–I agree with you that kids don't need to be hand-held to and from the bus, but if the bus company makes a rule that they have to be, then my opinion on the matter is irrelevant. I just meant that, in situations like that, it might not be logistically feasible for an adult to supervise the child getting on and off the bus, or alternatively, escort the child to and from school. As for your earlier post about the tires, I honestly didn't know you could tell UPS (or whoever) to drop things off without you being there, but I still think that "tires" and "children" aren't really a perfect comparison, because people don't look at a set of tires the same way they do a child. If someone stole your tires from you when you weren't home, then that person would be guilty of theft. On the other hand, if someone saw one or more of your children unattended during the day (I forget, how many do you have?), then even if they looked perfectly happy and content, some busybody might call the police or CPS on you…….and, if one of the kids got kidnapped (which I hope never happens), there'd be a chorus of sanctimommies calling you an "unfit parent." So, basically, if you had a material thing stolen from you (like the tires), the thief would be considered at fault, but if you had one of your kids stolen, people would think it was your fault. So, the bus company's policy is unfair, it's flawed logic, it stunts kids' growth and development, and it interferes with a lot of families' work and school schedules, but it's (probably) born out of the fear-based "if it saves one child, it's worth it" mindset. I think it's insane, because even if it does "save one child," it preserves ALL the children in a state of perpetual infancy.

  68. Donna February 25, 2015 at 7:54 am #

    “Don’t most states still have the concept of citizen’s arrest?”

    A citizen can certainly stop someone from breaking the law and hold them until police arrive. Say you see someone trying to steal Warren’s tires, you could detain them until police arrive by any lawful means (which may or may not be a show of deadly force depending on location). It is not really an arrest though. The police officer actually decides whether to arrest the person, effectuates the arrest and takes the person to jail.

    There is something called a “citizens warrant” which is basically where a citizen goes to a magistrate judge, presents a case and asks the judge to issue a warrant to arrest someone. The sheriff then does the actual arresting. I’ve actually had a couple of these over the years and the DA’s Office doesn’t look favorably on them. They rarely choose to follow through with prosecution and, if they do, the result is nothing more than a fine.

    So basically, the answer to your question is no. A citizen can’t show up at the jail with a person and say “book’um Danno” Someone in law enforcement is getting a say over the arrest and actually doing it.

  69. Warren February 25, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    Okay, you all can try the quiet, polite diplomatic routes. Try in this day and age of fear and paranoia to get a large enough group of parents that will support you in your cause to repeal a “for the safety of the child” rule.
    Go to the meetings, write your letters, and then if you are lucky by the time your kid is in college you won’t have to meet them at the bus.

    Like I said, “Nice guys finish last.”. All these new safety measures, rules and laws did not sneak up on us, started by quiet diplomatic means. They were all brought about by paranoid parents that were screaming in outrage. To win the battles you will have to be louder and more of a thorn in their sides, than the groups that brought about the mess in the first place.

    It all comes down to fear. Who are the rule makers, policy writers and law makers more afraid of, the parents that got these rules into existance, or the parents trying to get rid of the rules.

  70. SteveS February 25, 2015 at 10:35 am #

    @resident iconoclast said, “At the final step, however, I wouldn’t be calling the police. I’d be calling the child protection authorities, and accusing that bus driver of sexually molesting my child.”

    Good luck with this course of action. Falsely accusing someone of a crime is a crime in every state. I have seen a few prosecutions for this. Juries and judges aren’t very sympathetic to people that do this. Buses also typically have cameras.

    I don’t have a problem with playing hardball and I really think that these people would back down if you were firm and forceful. I seriously doubt the police are going to intervene and arrest the driver, no matter how much you complain. I would also be careful with a citizen’s arrest. If you forcibly detain someone and it turns out what they did was not a felony, then you can be charged with unlawful imprisonment.

  71. David February 25, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    @Steve S: I thought that those who reported somebody any form of child abuse was immune from criminal prosecution and civil suit.

  72. David February 25, 2015 at 10:59 am #

    Edit: somebody for

  73. Richard February 25, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    David, generally those immunity statutes provide immunity from civil actions–not criminal charges. Also, depending on the state they may not apply to knowingly false reports.

  74. Richard February 25, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    For example, California’s laws provide immunity for both criminal and civil actions, but the immunity does not extend to false reports made knowingly or recklessly.

  75. bobca February 25, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    @Donna…you are incorrect about kidnapping being an issue here. This is not a humorous/idle threat suggestion.

    The definition of “kidnapping” from the legal dictionary is “The crime of unlawfully seizing and carrying away a person by force or fraud, or seizing and detaining a person against his or her will with an intent to carry that person away at a later time”.

    As a parent, I am the legal guardian, and no one is authorized to make decisions for my child except adults in my immediate family, and persons specifically designated “in writing” by me to do that. The bus company does not have that right, so they would be kidnapping a child by “unlawfully seizing and carrying away a person by force or fraud, or seizing and detaining a person against his or her will”.

  76. Puzzled February 25, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    I might not be a lawyer, but I’m aware that interpreting law involves understanding the specific applicable statutes and knowing the case law – not reading a legal dictionary (at least, not as the only step.)

    Even if one could apply dictionaries to criminal proceedings in place of actual laws, there is no intent to “later carry away” here. In addition, parents register their kids for school – which designates the school as a caretaker in writing.

    Finally, the definition references “unlawfully” which means even the definition itself doesn’t apply unless there is an applicable statute.

  77. SKL February 25, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

    I think I’d go with the kidnapping argument – you can’t just up and take a kid someplace where neither the kid nor the parent wants him to go.

    Though, they might come back with “OK then, nobody is forcing you to use bus service, just drive him to school yourself if you don’t want to play by our rules.”

  78. Warren February 25, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    Donna and others claiming you have no legal recourse against the bus company,

    What legal standing do they have to call the police, as they have threatened, because you don’t want to follow their company rules.

    What is the company planning on doing? Accuse the parent of abandonment or neglect, because you want your kid to walk home on their own, from the bus stop?

    The bus company and school are not even trying to be nice, diplomatic or even civil, they are threatening parents.
    Do what we say or we will call the police on you.

    Okay, forget the kidnapping, the unlawful detention, and go straight for extortion.
    If the law allows this type of behaviour from anyone, then the law is screwed and needs major overhauls.

  79. SKL February 25, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

    All this talk about the school calling the cops reminds me of a conversation I had with my kid yesterday. We were in a grocery store and my petite 8yo wanted to go ahead to the fruit section while I was looking for something else. I said fine, meetcha there. I ended up spending much longer than expected looking for my item. When I mosey’d over to the fruit, my kid had gone off looking for me. She came back and said, “I was thinking I might need to tell someone I couldn’t find you.”

    I told her that nowadays, if she did that, there was a chance that instead of paging me to come and get my kid, the store might have called the cops. I don’t want my kids to be too eager to go tell someone they are “lost” or “alone.” At least not until they look older.

    Thankfully in my school district, they let kids over KG off the bus alone, and KG kids are allowed off if they have an older sibling to walk with. That said, most parents take their kids to / from the bus stops well past KG age. My kids say they are the only kids on their bus whose parents don’t wait with them at the bus stop. (And mine are the first kids picked up.)

    I do watch from my window on very cold mornings, because there have been times when the bus didn’t show up at all, and my kids would stand there and wait for a long time before realizing they needed to walk back home.

  80. Resident Iconoclast February 25, 2015 at 2:13 pm #


    Your technically correct when you wrote, “Good luck with this course of action. Falsely accusing someone of a crime is a crime in every state. I have seen a few prosecutions for this. Juries and judges aren’t very sympathetic to people that do this. Buses also typically have cameras.”

    You should have written after the above, “…except for alleged sex offenses.” I have a lot of experience with CPS and I live in Washington. In Wenatchee, the local prosecutor with the help of the state social workers filed over 25,000 counts of felony sex offenses, which in hindsight never occurred. This is also true today, whenever you accuse anyone of child molestation, the burden of proof shifts immediately to the accused to prove his innocence. I’m sure a lot of people read this site who will be happy to tell their sad tales of such accusations.

    As for the school bus camera, is that driver and that child on the camera every moment of the time they were together? It won’t stop the social workers from believing the child, and a lot of children will give answers when interviewed that will send the social workers off to the races.

    My strategy would work like gangbusters. And by the way, I’d be interested if you can find me ONE case of a false accusation of child sexual abuse that resulted in the criminal prosecution and conviction of the accuser. Just one. I dare you. I know you probably can, but you’re going to have to work all day to do it.

  81. Richard February 25, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

    Warren, when authorizing the bus company to transport your child, you are consenting to the terms upon which they offer that service if such terms are known to you. They consent to take responsibility for your child only upon those terms. You cannot unilaterally dictate a change in those terms and expect your dictates to be given legal effect. You may, of course, make alternate arrangements for your child which don’t require the bus company’s agreement.

  82. Richard February 25, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

    Resident Iconoclast, I hope you will enjoy the resulting lawsuit as reporting immunities don’t apply in your state to reports submitted in bad faith.

  83. Warren February 25, 2015 at 4:11 pm #


    Funny, I am never consulted by the school board as to my opinion on which bus line they use. Therefore I have agreed to nothing with them.

    Since when does a private company have the right to threaten people with police action, if they don’t follow their rules?

    Next, show me the law that allows companies to dictate to their clients that the company has the right to determine how their clients get to and from their location?

    Just out of curiousity, why bother having a Constitution or Bill of Rights if you as a population are just going to give any Tom, Dick and Harry the power to tell you how to raise your kids, and how to live?

  84. Warren February 25, 2015 at 4:15 pm #


    You ever seen the movie The Avengers.

    When Loki was in Germany, and him going on about how the human species was meant to be ruled, that we crave it.

    I have seen way to many things from cps, to bus companies, to homeowners assoc.’s, and so on, all of which you have given power and authority over your lives.

    It makes me think that maybe a lot of people do want to be ruled.

  85. Jen (P.) February 25, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    There’s likely some risk involved with this approach, but it seems to me you need to enlist the school district’s help. They are contracting with service providers who are enforcing inconsistent policies, some of which are absurd (the risk, of course, is that the district might think the best course of action is to adopt the most restrictive policy). The district needs to rein in its contractors and develop a reasonable policy. If the contractor won’t comply, then the district should find another contractor.

  86. Nexist Xenda'ths (@dar205) February 25, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

    I’d just explain that failure to allow my child to come home is kidnapping. Failure to allow my child to come home will result in legal action.

  87. Havva February 25, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    @ SKL,
    I don’t think the store is going to call the cops over a kid who is lost in the store, as long as mom comes to customer service when paged. I lost my toddler a few years back. They responded as calmly as any store when I was lost as a kid. They were more chill about it than I was and a salesman assured me that “it happens, we can handle this, it is not a problem.”

    Besides we haven’t seen even one story of parents being threatened, investigated, or having the police call because a kid got separated from mom in a store. Yes it might alarm some people that you sent her off on her own. But there is no need to mention that.

    All she has to do is what I was taught when I was 3. Just go to customer service and say “Excuse me, could you please page [parent’s full name]”. I’m more than a little petite myself, I had to go behind counters to talk to customer service. But I learned in pre-school that a calm confident presentation (and a good vocabulary), will assure anyone that you are not as young as you look, and that they don’t need to worry about you.

  88. Richard February 25, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

    Warren, The bus company provides a service upon particular terms. You may choose to take advantage of the service or not, but don’t have the right to demand the service upon different terms even if the service involves transporting your child. If you, or Nexist, convey to the bus company that they do not have your permission to transport your child consistent with their policies, they will presumably decide whether to transport your child consistent with your consent or refuse to permit your child on the bus. Your right to make decisions about your child does not extend to demanding that third parties provide services to your child upon the terms that you want. Of course, all that assumes the policy is not forbidden under the contract with the district. If the company is in violation of its contract with the school district, then the school district should be enforcing it.

  89. Jen (P) February 25, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    @Richard – “You may choose to take advantage of the service or not, but don’t have the right to demand the service upon different terms even if the service involves transporting your child.”

    That may depend on the extent to which the school corporation is legally obligated to provide transportation to the student. Whether public schools are required to provide transportation is an issue that is currently being litigated in my state, but to the extent they are, I would argue that refusing to do so based on some arbitrary and ridiculous rule is a breach of that duty.

  90. Richard February 25, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    Warren, I frequently take two neighbor boys to a local pool with my kids. Although the rules of the pool permit it, and their parents have requested it, I am unwilling to leave them there when I leave. (This is not a matter of their safety, but of exposing others to their conduct when they believe they are not supervised) Certainly, their parents have every right to arrange transportation with someone who will leave them there, or refuse to have them go with me if I am going to insist that they leave with me. They do not have a right to insist that I transport them and then leave them there unsupervised.

  91. Richard February 25, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

    Jen, What the school is or is not required to provide is a separate issue from the bus company’s policy. A parent has a right to enforce the legal obligations of the school to provide transport. The school can also enforce its rights against the school bus company if the policy violates the contract. If the policy doesn’t violate the contract, the school is free to encourage the company to change the policy–or contract with someone else.

  92. Warren February 25, 2015 at 5:51 pm #


    I am going to guess you are a politician or in the insurance industry. Why? Instead answering some direct questions, all you did was repeat yourself.

    As for your not leaving the kids at the pool, when their parents have authorized it, does not make you a good person. Just makes you irritating and obnoxious. Kind of like you cut and paste repeated comments.

    Or do you work for the bus lines?

    Since it was the bus line that originally threatened parents with calling the police, I would have no problem calling the police to tell them that the school bus driver has kidnapped my child. My next phone call would be to the media. Some people are afraid of confrontations, I am not.

    Diplomacy did not get these rules put in place, and diplomacy is not going to get them removed.

  93. Richard February 25, 2015 at 7:22 pm #


    Wrong on all counts. As to your questions?

    Since when does a private company have the right to threaten people with police action, if they don’t follow their rules? — The bus company is not threatening people with police action if they don’t follow company rules. They are saying that if your child rides our bus, and you are not there to pick him up when the bus stops, we will contact the police rather than release the child unsupervised. If the police believe action is indicated, they can take action. If they don’t, presumably they won’t.

    Next, show me the law that allows companies to dictate to their clients that the company has the right to determine how their clients get to and from their location? — Certainly a business has no ability to control the mode of travel used by members of the public to get to the business’ premises. However, I also know of no laws which would generally preclude a business from, for example, refusing to provide services except to customers who arrived on busses operated by the business which made stops determined by the business. It might be silly and counterproductive, but not illegal.

    You complain that I have repeated myself, but you haven’t responded to the basic point. Absent laws or regulations that restrict them, businesses are free to offer their services upon any terms they wish. Other parties are free to enter into contracts for those services or not. If you don’t like the terms upon which they insist, don’t do business with them or convince them to change the terms. If you don’t like who the school district is contracting with, convince them to contract with someone else.

    Just out of curiousity, why bother having a Constitution or Bill of Rights if you as a population are just going to give any Tom, Dick and Harry the power to tell you how to raise your kids, and how to live?—You don’t see the contradiction in demanding the school provide transport for your child, but then insisting it must do so on the terms that you prefer? I absolutely support those who are trying to get stupid policies like this one changed, but asserting that such policies are illegal when they aren’t does not get us any closer to that goal.

  94. Jen (P.) February 25, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

    Richard – They’re not separate issues, because the bus company is contracted by the school district to carry out the district’s responsibilities. Deferring to the contractor’s policy doesn’t excuse the school from its obligations, nor would the fact that the bus company is in compliance with the contract (assuming that’s the case).

    Also, I don’t really see the point of your statement that “If the policy doesn’t violate the contract, the school is free to encourage the company to change the policy–or contract with someone else.” Whether the district is fulfilling its obligations is independent of the question of whether the bus company is in compliance with the contract. So while it may be true that the district could do those things, they wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the district’s legal duties. (Also, the terms of the contract probably would not permit the school to simply contract with someone else without paying a price if the bus company is in compliance with the agreement.)

    The bottom line is that if the arbitrary distinction in the level of service the school district is providing to different students violates its legal duties with regard to student transportation, then regardless of whether the bus company is in compliance with its contract, the school needs to pony up and provide reasonable transportation services.

  95. Buffy February 25, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    All this “have them charged with kidnapping” is ridiculous. In addition to what Donna so clearly stated numerous times, citizens don’t arrest, and they definitely don’t determine charges. An officer isn’t going to charge someone with kidnapping on your say so, with no evidence that an actual non-dictionary-definition kidnapping occurred. And certainly the DA’s office isn’t going to prosecute, with no evidence that an actual kidnapping occurred. You as a citizen, don’t get to say “arrest this man and charge him with kidnapping. Thanks.” It just doesn’t work that way and yes, undermines your whole argument when you make that threat.

  96. Becky February 25, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    that’s akin to kidnapping. “i didn’t feel like giving you your kid back.” yeah, that’ll hold up.

  97. Warren February 25, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

    Then you are lawyer.

    And yes, they are threatening police action. Give your head a shake. Have you not seen how the world works.
    Bus driver calls the cops, reports that noone was around to collect the kid at the stop. What in your limited mind do you think is going to happen? I can gauranfreakintee you that the cops are not going to say “Don’t worry bout it, just let him/her go.”. Cops will show up, and most likely a CPS investigation.

    And no company has any say in what a person does, once they are not on that company’s property. So here is the catch. Parents and kid want the kid to get off the bus, thus leaving the company’s property. Employee, and therefore the company right up to the owner, refuses to allow the kid to leave their property. Kid now says I am getting off the bus, and the driver physically detains the child. Because I would instruct my kid to ignore the rule and just get off the bus. Then what? What legal right would the driver have of physically restraining/detaining a child? And let’s be honest, no driver better do that infront of someone like me.

    Now let me talk r e a l s l o w for you. At no time is this trying to dictate how they transport my kid. They are contracted to deliver our bundles from the bus stop, to school and back to the bus stop. Nothing more.
    Once that childs feet hit the ground, their job is over. Period.

    So you say we have entered into a contract with the bus company, and must adhere to their terms and conditions.
    I have raised three kids through multiple schools, that have employed various bus lines. Not once did I enter negotiations with anyone, not consulted on which lines to use. If your kids go to school A, they must ride on such and such bus line. No agreement, no contracts, no signatures, no handshakes, no SFA. So I am not sure where you live or were educated, but none of that says I entered into a contract with anyone. So, without any proof that I as the parent entered into a contract, then I can tell them to shove their terms and conditions.

  98. Warren February 25, 2015 at 10:07 pm #


    Never said I could charge them with anything. But that does not stop us from calling in the abduction, or kidnapping.

    Now, what do you think is going to happen if a bus driver physically stops a child from getting off? Because that is what they would have to do with mine.

  99. Richard February 25, 2015 at 10:44 pm #

    Jen, the reason they are separate issues is that the bus company’s obligation is to comply with the contract it entered into. The school district has legal obligations to its students, which can be enforced against the district (which may, in turn, act against the bus company in some way if the bus company is not fulfilling its contractual obligations.) Generally, a complaining parent will have standing to assert a failure on the District’s part but won’t have standing to enforce the bus company’s contractual obligations as the duty under the contract is to the District.

  100. Brian Pugh February 25, 2015 at 11:34 pm #

    Simple, don’t put them on a bus to begin with. Let them ride their bike to school. Make it a proper bike with gears, lights, fenders, racks so that it is street legal, and can’t be mistaken for a toy. They may not be ready for serious street riding but they can make do with sidewalks and light traffic. Make it fun and bike with them if you can swing it.

  101. Puzzled February 26, 2015 at 12:19 am #

    The district has an obligation to provide transportation (at least in states I’ve worked in, other states may differ.) This limits the ability of the district to make contracts. If you can make the case that this policy violates that right (my hunch is a court wouldn’t buy it) that would mean that the district shouldn’t contract with this company under these conditions, not that the company has done anything actionable.

    On the original question – instead of making threats you can’t back up, raise hell at the school level. The issue to raise is not one of law, but of right and wrong. Convince the school board that they will be voted out of office if they do not renegotiate or change companies over this policy. Run for school board yourself on this issue. Get together the parents identified by other comments as being adversely impacted and form a coalition. Get media attention.

    Or homeschool or have your kid walk to school.

    Which raises a question for me: what is the nature of the contract the school district has with the bus company? Does the bus company get paid a flat rate, or is it based on the number of students listed as ‘bus students?’ If the latter, maybe listing your kid as a bike/walk student will hurt the company’s bottom line.

  102. David February 26, 2015 at 3:36 am #

    Bottom line: The bus company has absolutely no right to dictate how the district’s children leave their property.

  103. Richard February 26, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    David, I agree. But the bus company can determine the terms under which it will accept responsibility for and transport those children.

  104. Jen (P.) February 26, 2015 at 11:18 am #

    Richard, I agree with that, and perhaps I should have said the only issue that really matters is the district’s duty to provide transportation. As a parent, I wouldn’t care whether the bus company is complying with its contractual obligations, and it’s an important distinction because it’s a virtual certainty that the school district would try to pass this off on the bus company and argue there’s nothing the schools can do about it. Parents should not let them get away with that. Hence my original comment on this, which was that the parent should pressure the district to enforce a reasonable policy consistently with all the students it serves. And that pressure would include pointing out that (1) requiring parents to pick up students who are above kindergarten age at the bus stop is ridiculous and (2) refusing to allow a child to get off the bus when the child’s parents have given directions to the contrary is patently unreasonable and arguably unlawful as well.

  105. Warren February 26, 2015 at 11:37 am #

    Richard and Buffy,

    Why is it neither of you will address the issue of physically detaining the student? Again, if the student insists on getting off the bus, at their designated stop, what options does the driver have? Slamming the doors shut, and locking the kid in and or physically restraining the child, and then shutting the doors locking the kid in.

    The moment either of those actions are taken by the bus driver, it has stepped over the line from company policy, to unlawful detention, kidnapping and assault.

    We are not talking about making someone drive into town to sign for a tube of whatever. We are talking about a human being. Human beings that have the right to be protected from such actions.

  106. Richard February 26, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    Warren, You seem to be suggesting that an adult having accepted legal responsibility for a child has no legal authority to stop that child from going wherever he wants to. You may claim that you have not delegated that authority, but you do so when you have your child get on the bus knowing that the bus driver will exercise that control. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want a school bus driver to be legally required to let my five year old out if he demands to be released at the toy store one passes between my house and the school. You tell the bus company you want them to let your child off the bus without a parent present, they say they won’t do that. You now have a choice of having your child ride the bus and abide by the policy in force or having your child utilize an alternate means of transportation until you can get the school district to change the conditions under which its bus transportation is provided. While your child may be able to physically exit the bus in violation of the policy, it’s likely that misconduct will result in him being penalized for that violation or law enforcement being called to deal with a runaway. Claiming the bus company’s policy is illegal focuses the issue on legal vs. illegal, which would not be successful in most places because it is not illegal. If the District is unlawfully denying transportation it is required to provide, then that might be a discussion worth pursuing. However, in most jurisdictions, success will come with pressure on the district to ensure the policy is eliminated because it is stupid, and it is bad for kids, bad for families and bad for neighborhoods.

  107. SteveS February 26, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    Warren, I don’t believe that the Bus Company would fare any better in calling the police if it was shown that the parent was waving to them and was home. I would be interested to know if any bus driver has been successful with this tactic.

    @resident iconoclast, I am personally familiar with people that have been sanctioned for making false reports of child abuse. In a few cases, they were charged criminally. In other cases, such as divorce and custody proceedings, there were negative consequences to the person making the false report.

    From what I can tell, 29 states have civil penalties and 19 states have criminal penalties. In addition, if you file a false complaint, you lose any immunity from a civil action.

  108. Warren February 26, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

    Who said anything about a freaking toy store? What is it about designated stop that you didn’t understand. And you can live in your little world of policy and regulations and rules. But I can pretty much promise you no school bus driver will walk away clean for physically preventing a child from getting off at their stop.
    Also you have parents like myself, that should I see a driver physically stopping a child from getting off, when I know this is there stop, they will be calling in another driver to finish the run, because it is hard to drive from the ER.
    In no world does giving someone caretaking duties of your child, does that authorize assault. “Yes Judge, I forced him back into his seat, and locked him in the bus. It is okay though it is company policy.”

  109. hineata February 26, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    As has been explained to you multiple times before, Warren, were you to give ‘the bash’ to somebody doing their job, then you would be arrested. Being a white male, of course, and a business owner to boot, your chances of actual incarceration in North America appear to be much lower than if you were black, but that’s a discussion for another day.

    There are some few instances as a teacher, all involving discipline, where I have done what I considered appropriate within the bounds of school procedure without regard for parental wishes. Had a parent chosen to ‘give me the bash’ for going against their particular desires, they would have been in court. No matter what you think of the bus rules, and personally I think they sound really dumb in this instance, you change policy, not go around assaulting individuals. Not unless you like the idea of becoming someone’s pretty boy.

  110. Warren February 26, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

    And as I have said before, Hineata, if I witness someone physically assaulting a child, I don’t give a rat’s ass who or what they are to that child. And for the record, no Bubba could make me their pretty boy.

    Just because you have come across some of those internet tough guys, don`t for a moment thing that I am just one of them. Have never backed down from anyone, and to be honest, when the stars allign and the circumstances are all there, I have been known to enjoy a good fight. So please do not make assumptions as to my convictions or abilities.

  111. Donna February 26, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

    “The district has an obligation to provide transportation”

    The district has an obligation to provide transportation … to a point. The district doesn’t have to allow their buses to become free-for-alls. It is perfectly acceptable for a school district to suspend a child from a bus for failing to follow the rules of the bus.

  112. hineata February 26, 2015 at 8:20 pm #

    You’ve stated your overblown ideas of your own abilities many times, Warren, but like every other blowhard on the Internet you would last about 10 seconds longer than I would against the actually dangerous.

    The most dangerous guy I have known was a very quiet, very weedy-looking little guy, our next door neighbor. Ex SAS, and a sword-maker by trade. Able to take blowhards apart, quite literally. …field-tested in the art. And my father, another tough street fighter if pushed, nevertheless had the common sense to keep on the good side of said neighbour.

    So no, just from the way you talk, it is extremely easy to judge your relative ‘toughness’.

  113. hineata February 26, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

    In case you are unaware, SAS soldiers are the more dangerous equivalent of Navy SEALS in the British and ANZAC services. Not sure if Canada has some or not.

  114. Donna February 26, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

    “What legal standing do they have to call the police, as they have threatened, because you don’t want to follow their company rules.”

    They are not calling the police because you don’t want to follow their rules. They are calling the police because they have a child that they are responsible for, they no longer wish to continue that responsibility and nobody else has stepped up to claim responsibility in a way that is satisfactory to them.

    “What is the company planning on doing? Accuse the parent of abandonment or neglect, because you want your kid to walk home on their own, from the bus stop?”

    The company is planning on nothing more than giving up responsibility for the child to another responsible party. Hence the reason that they call the police ONLY IF no person is at school who is willing to take responsibility for the child. They may do so with certain hopes or beliefs but they ultimately have no control over what happens from there. “Abandonment” and “neglect” are legal determinations. Citizens give facts, not legal determinations. The police ultimately decide whether the facts given constitute a crime, not bus drivers. But my guess is that all the bus company truly wants is for the parents to pick up their kid at the bus stop and not their arrest.

  115. Donna February 26, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    “Because I would instruct my kid to ignore the rule and just get off the bus.”

    So you’d thrust your child physically in the middle of an adult fight that they have no desire to be a part of? Great parenting. (The operative word being INSIST as opposed to letting them do what they choose to do).

    “What legal right would the driver have of physically restraining/detaining a child?”

    Yes, bus drivers sometimes restrain/detain children. The bus driver doesn’t have to let a child get off at the wrong stop or attack another child or destroy bus property or throw things out the window. If preventing those things requires physical restraint, it is acceptable for the bus driver to do it.

    Physical discipline of a child is allowed under the law, even if that discipline involves reasonable physical restraint.

    “And let’s be honest, no driver better do that infront of someone like me.”

    Well, if it is your child, you are there so this is not an issue. If it is not, good luck with that. You will likely be on the losing end of this legal battle.

  116. Warren February 26, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

    Again you are comparing restraining a child for vandalism or the child getting violent, to restraining a child that wants to get off a bus at their designated stop, and go home. Not even close.

    Donna, I will take my chances with protecting anyone’s child against assault. Unlike the cowards that comment on here, that are too afraid to stand up to anyone, too afraid to be wrong.

    hineata, think what you want, I don’t give a rat’s ass. I neither have the time nor the desire to prove myself to some moron that believes she is better than the rest.

  117. Warren February 26, 2015 at 9:28 pm #

    We can look at it two ways.
    Having my kid ignore the rule and just get off the bus. You say is bad parenting.

    Having you kid quietly go along with something you know to be wrong. Shows your kid that mom is a coward, that mom doesn’t think taking on issues pertaining to the kid is important enough. In other words bad parenting.

    You are always talking about picking your battles, and yet you have never come out and picked one. A lawyer afraid of confrontation, wow not so hot.

  118. Warren February 26, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

    My uncle cross trained here in Canada with SAS. He always said that the canadians were tired of handing them their butts all the time, and were going to start training with the germans.

  119. Richard February 26, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    Warren, having your child get off the bus violating the policy and, presumably, the directions of the bus driver may give you some kind of satisfaction but won’t get the policy changed. It will just get your child punished for misconduct and probably excluded from bus transportation for a time. Meanwhile, the parents who are putting pressure on the school district, or gathering support for candidates who would establish better policies are the ones who will actually improve the situation.

  120. Warren February 26, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    In this day and age of fear and paranoia and mommy shaming, if you think you can get enough support to get this time of safety rule abolished, you are insane.

    And I have no problem with civil disobedience by my kid, if they believe it is the right thing to do. And I will be in the school office everytime they want to make an issue out of it.

    You act like this is my first go around with schools. I have gone to battle over vaccinations, lunches, and yes trasportation. I know what works, and has every time for us.

  121. Donna February 26, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

    Warren, If there is something worth fighting for, I will fight for it. Unlike you, I don’t expect my 9 year old to fight those battles for me.

  122. Donna February 26, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

    “You act like this is my first go around with schools. I have gone to battle over vaccinations, lunches, and yes trasportation. I know what works, and has every time for us.”

    And you have exactly proved my point. As I said in the beginning, I have no doubt that your behavior works to get exceptions for your own child at times, not because you are remotely right, but because people tend to avoid confrontation if they can easily do so. However, you have only changed things for YOU. You haven’t changed a single rule. This guy doesn’t want to get an exception for one child; he wants to change the rule for EVERY child.

  123. Donna February 26, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

    For those saying this is kidnapping, “against your will” is the problem. There are more ways to consent than just expressly agreeing to something. You can also passively consent. That is what we have here. You have been told that your child will be taken back to school if you are not at the bus stop. You have argued with the bus company to allow your child to get off the bus without you and have again been told that your child will be taken back school if you don’t meet your child at the bus stop. You KNOW with 100% certainty that if you put your child on the bus and you don’t meet the bus at the bus stop on any given day, he/she will be taken back to school. You still put your child on the bus. By using the bus service, you have consented to your child being taken back to school if you do not meet the bus.

    I know some here like to insist that civil disobedience means the rules/laws don’t apply to you — that all you have to say is “but I am breaking this rule for a higher purpose” and you are magically absolved of all penalties and negative repercussions. And while that would be nice, it is not remotely true. Civil disobedience means that you are willing to suffer the repercussions for a higher purpose, not that there will be no repercussions and that you can prosecute someone for doing exactly what they said they were going to do as a result of your behavior.

  124. Jen (P.) February 26, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

    “They are calling the police because they have a child that they are responsible for, they no longer wish to continue that responsibility and nobody else has stepped up to claim responsibility in a way that is satisfactory to them.”

    This is true and is the root of the problem as far as I’m concerned. There are at least two free range issues here. Obviously one is that it’s crazy to demand that parents pick 4th graders up at the bus stop. The other is who gets to decide the circumstances under which someone to whom you’ve entrusted your child for a period of time returns that child to your custody. Although I wouldn’t employ his tactics for challenging this, I can’t disagree with Warren that a lot of you seem much more willing than I am to accept the “well, if we’re transporting your kid, we control the terms under which we’ll give him back to you” argument. And the fact that most people don’t have a meaningful choice to send their kids anywhere but the local public school just exacerbates the problem. I’m showing my crazy libertarian side, but I see an agent of the government threatening to call the police and detain a child if a parent won’t toe the line and do what the government agent wants. That makes me very uncomfortable.

  125. hineata February 26, 2015 at 11:20 pm #

    @Warren – loved your uncle’s tale, had a good giggle over it. He can obviously tell a whopper with the best of them, which is a fun skill to have.

    Tell you what, I’ll be in Seattle from the 18th to the 20th of July, roughly long enough I gather to clear TSA lines, have a half-hour coffee at Starbucks with my brother and get my daughter snatched by a pedophile ring, but we fly out on the 21st from Vancouver. Why don’t you and the wife scoot over, I’ll shout y’all dinner in a Triad restaurant (must be one somewhere on the Island), you insult the chef or his mother and if you live the week out without injury I’ll apologize on here for doubting your ‘bloke’ status….😀

  126. Richard February 26, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

    Jen, I think many of us are accepting the argument that the law permits the bus company to have and enforce the policy it has chosen, because the law does permit it. The issue of whether the policy should be in place, and the extent to which people here would fight imposition of such a policy in their districts, is a different one. I don’t have to consider the extent to which I would expend my time and resources fighting that battle because it is fortunately not an issue where I am. What I do see, however, is that those who might help get changes made (the school board, local media, teachers and principals, other parents) stop listening when people falsely assert something is illegal instead of concentrating on all the reasons it is an extremely bad policy.

  127. Emily February 27, 2015 at 12:18 am #

    Would it work to have all the parents of bus students to protest the “must meet under-tens at the bus” rule, by collectively scheduling a “protest” day, and deliberately NOT meeting their kids at the bus that day? I mean, it’d be wildly impractical for the bus driver to take an entire busload of kids back to school, and for the school (and possibly the police) to deal with them once they get there. I think the hardest part would probably be getting all the parents on board, if some of them think it’s “unsafe” for their grade-schooler to independently walk a few metres from the bus stop to their house.

  128. Jen (P.) February 27, 2015 at 12:23 am #

    The fact that something is legal doesn’t make it right. This is yet another example of government overreach infringing the rights of parents to determine how their children should be raised. It’s really no different from the busybody who calls CPS because she doesn’t think kids should be walking home from the playground alone. We all have to parent by their standards. We’re giving up control over our own lives. And if people don’t wake up and realize what is happening we won’t have any independence left.

  129. karin February 27, 2015 at 2:20 am #

    My oldest walked home kindergarten on a regular basis, so did my middle child & youngest. Reponsibility is learned from parents setting the example not some bs regulation under the guise of “safety”

  130. Alex February 27, 2015 at 3:37 am #

    Isn’t a major benefit to children riding the bus that the parent doesn’t have to be around when the child finishes school for the day and doesn’t have to go out from home or work to get the child?

  131. Warren February 27, 2015 at 3:48 am #

    The reason I end up fighting basically for just my kid, is because the majority of parents up here are like you and most other parents. Big talkers but never stand up and do anything, because it is just easier to go along than rock the boat.

    As they say in Battlestar, go frack yourself.
    I wouldn’t break bread with you if it was the last food left. And I will tell you right now, do not insult my uncle, he served and fought with honour and distinction.

  132. Donna February 27, 2015 at 8:25 am #


    You (and Warren, but he is rarely worth talking to) seem to equate understanding the law and the ability of private companies to make their own operating rules with mandatory acceptance and inability to do anything.

    It is 100% true that legally the bus can make a rule requiring children be met at the bus to use its services. It is true that a company can manage its own affairs in ways that impact your parenting choices. The bus company’s actions are not unconstitutional or kidnapping or in any way illegal.

    Accepting that doesn’t mean that you can’t think the rule is stupid and can’t work to change it in reasonable ways. If that was true, we’d all still live in Jim Crow South. Getting in a bus driver’s face and insisting that you are going to have him arrested for a crime he hasn’t committed just makes you look ignorant. Threatening legal action that doesn’t exist just makes you look ignorant. If your sole goal is to bully people into making an exception for your child, you may be successful with these tactics, but you will never actually change the rules or ways of thinking. In other words, one person may be able to bully his way to the lunch counter, but bullying will not get an integrated society in which all people of all races can eat at the lunch table. Only changing views can do that.

    It is my understanding that this rule exists in my town (only through 3rd grade). You are correct that I don’t care enough to actively pursue fighting it because my child doesn’t ride the bus and still wouldn’t do so if the rule was changed. While I would support fellow parents who decided to take on this issue, I am not going to start a campaign attacking an issue that doesn’t affect me in the least. Nor would I be effective because the end result doesn’t affect me in the least so my personal beliefs are irrelevant – eg if none of the people riding the bus are complaining, why are they going to take into consideration the views of someone whose child doesn’t even ride the bus? And my trying to control their parenting choices is no better than the school bus company controlling mine. If they complain to me about the bus pick up, I can tell them to fight it and how. If they are okay with it, it shouldn’t be a battle I take up on my own and insist that they should be bothered since, again, the rule doesn’t affect me in the least.

  133. Emily February 27, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    Really, Warren? You wouldn’t break bread with Donna if it was the last food left? I think you would, because, for all your aggressiveness, you really are a good person, but when you say “last food left,” do you mean the last food left on Earth, or just the last food left at a specific place where you and Donna might (hypothetically) end up together? Because, I think it’s a little dramatic to go from “overblown safety rule” to discussing what you’d do if the world was in a post-Apocalyptic state.

  134. Warren February 27, 2015 at 10:51 am #


    reread things before you comment on them.

  135. Jen (P.) February 27, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    “You (and Warren, but he is rarely worth talking to) seem to equate understanding the law and the ability of private companies to make their own operating rules with mandatory acceptance and inability to do anything.

    It is 100% true that legally the bus can make a rule requiring children be met at the bus to use its services. It is true that a company can manage its own affairs in ways that impact your parenting choices. The bus company’s actions are not unconstitutional or kidnapping or in any way illegal.”

    This is not a private company the parents agreed to hire to provide a service. It is a contractor of a public school corporation (at least it appears to be given the reference to a school board and multiple bus companies). If it were a private school whose rules and policies the parents didn’t like, I’d say take your business elsewhere if you don’t want to follow this crazy rule. But it’s not. Most people don’t have a meaningful choice to send their children anywhere but the local public school, and they’re stuck with the transportation the school provides (and which their tax dollars finance). And it is not right for this school corporation to exercise the level of control it is asserting.

    Also, Donna, I don’t know if the rest of your comment was directed at Warren or me, but I expressly stated that I would not employ the tactics he is advocating and that I would instead pressure the school corporation to rein in its contractors and apply a reasonable rule consistently to all students, which would also have the effect of eliminating the undue influence over how kids get from the bus stop to their houses.

  136. hineata February 27, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    @Emily – that ‘bread’ comment was directed at me, not Donna. I know I shouldn’t provoke Warren, it’s boring for everyone else, but what can I say, it was a slow day yesterday! Sometimes I just want to see what nonsense will come out of his mouth next.

    This latest lot was particularly funny, as you generally go to Chinese restaurants for rice. Which comes in separate little granules, and doesn’t require breaking. …

    But like all people with mouths bigger than their abilities, he isn’t able to back himself in real life. Which I had probably better get back to. ..

  137. hineata February 27, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

    @Warren – I will address your uncle’s story briefly. It is only a puffed up piece, as ordinary soldiers in ordinary circumstances will not beat SAS troops. However I do not doubt that he served well, if he was a combat soldier.

    All of the uncles who served with the Maori battalion, the two that survived the Pioneer battalion (WW1) and the one who was in the Indo-Chinese war told a few bs stories like your uncle’s….the one in the Indo-Chinese war about being peed on by a British soldier as he stole the soldier’s bootlaces, which he swears is true but sounds apocryphal to me. The others mostly about their sexual exploits. (Those might be a little closer to true….there are supposedly villages in Italy with a lot of Maori-looking people! ).

    They told these stories because, as we know vicariously through written accounts, the realities of being a soldier in combat are mostly too awful to talk about. So you embellish the’fun’ stuff.

    If your uncle was a combat soldier, I doubt he would want to tell you anything real. We found out about our relatives’ true exploits mainly through newspaper clippings and books decades after the event.

  138. Warren February 27, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

    I do not recall saying my uncle was regular forces.

  139. Warren February 28, 2015 at 12:46 am #

    Just because your family lies through their teeth to make themselves seem more impressive, does not mean everyone else’s does.

    I have no doubt about my uncle’s honesty. Since I have heard numerous versions of the same story, about combat games being run, and US special forces having their asses handed to them as well, but told by non family members.

    I have also had many a discussion with him of the horrors he saw in combat overseas. Again, do not insult or dishonour my uncle, he was a better man than you have ever known.

  140. Caroline February 28, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    I can’t believe all the nitpicking and arguing on this post.
    How about you all just drop the subject, unless you have something new and helpful to say about the original subject?

  141. Emily February 28, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

    Caroline is right; we have drifted off-topic. It seems as if this whole debate is just another variation of the over-arching question of whether “child safety” automatically translates to “constant adult supervision,” and if so, until what age? More to the point, who gets to decide? Also, at what point is it okay to sacrifice “100% safety” because achieving “100% safety” isn’t possible without significantly inconveniencing a lot of people, when, say, 95% or 99% safety wouldn’t?

  142. hineata February 28, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

    @Caroline and Emily – it’s called the Internet. If you don’t want to read a comment then skip it.

    @Warren – if you choose to respond to respond then please take the time to read what is written, and attempt to understand said statements. SAS are not US forces. …nobody was saying anything about US forces. As for the rest of what has, as usual, descended into nonsense, whatever. I’m sure your uncle was a lovely man….mine were and are. Hopefully you will adopt some of his better characteristics at some point.

    Back to buses, as was my original point, if you don’t like the rules, find an alternative to them or attempt to change policy. If you want to exercise your ‘right’ to assault people, then have fun with Bubba. …

  143. Warren March 1, 2015 at 12:36 am #

    Are you really as stupid as you come across?
    Not once did I say that the SAS was US military. I know exactly what the SAS is, and probably better than you.
    So, why don’t you go back to your family of liars, and stop trying to make yourself feel better by pretending all families are as low as yours.

    Just for the record Little Lady, my ways have yet to have me meet Bubba. So again, like most things, maybe you should not speak on things you are completely ignorant in. You can live in fear of doing the right thing and live the life of a coward, but don`t expect others to as well.

  144. Emily March 1, 2015 at 7:22 am #

    No, Hineata, you misunderstood me. I think “Does child safety automatically mean 100% supervision?”; and “Is 100% safety worth the inconvenience it creates?”; are perfectly valid questions, and interesting points for debate, as we’ve seen here, and in many other threads. It’s when outside organizations unilaterally say “yes,” that parents, teachers, and other adults who work with children, are in trouble.

  145. Ann March 1, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

    Weird. Around here I see parents waiting with/for kids up until 2nd grade, but once they hit 3rd grade, no parents are ever around anymore.

  146. Dani March 3, 2015 at 5:18 pm #

    [Qoute]Folks, it is not kidnapping if a bus driver takes your children to the exact place they told you that they would take your children if you weren’t at the bus stop. Throwing around stupid threats doesn’t increase your argument in the least.[/Quote]

    so, as long as i tell you where, its ok if i take your children against your will and theirs?

  147. Jack March 4, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    This is one of the problems with privatizing everything. In an earlier era, you could take up your complaints with the school district, whose employees are directly accountable to a duly elected school board. Now you have to deal with some random bus company who isn’t accountable to much of anyone.

    And in this case, you have multiple companies serving the same district, so you can get one company to change its policy but still have a lot of work to do. It also makes it harder to band together with other parents, since their kids may be bussed by a different company.