School Bus and Safety of Children, Is the School Dangerous ? How safe is school Bus?
Circumstances have ways of opening our eyes to some alarming possibilities and truths, except that sometimes, we are too occupied to see what has been revealed to us.
I remember an incident during my days as a teacher in a private school. School had dismissed, but because I had lesson notes to write I stayed back in school. I was a new teacher to the school, so I didn’t want to be found wanting in my job so early on. The school had a school bus which took trips to drive home pupils and students, and there were many students to drop home every day because parents were usually too busy for school run in the afternoon. So I was hoping to join the bus when it returned for its last trip, to take home students who stayed back for lessons.
There was always a female teacher who worked with the driver every time he was driving students and pupils home, no doubt the school was acting careful. Commendable, you would say.
So on that day, after I had finished my lesson note, I went to ease myself in the toilet. I was there when the bus returned, so I hurried outside. When I got to the bus, the driver and his female assistant had gone to the primary school block to bring out pupils, so I entered the bus and sat at the back. It was a big bus. Soon, the pupils started coming inside the bus, they were of different ages and in different classes, from KG 3 to senior primary. The children greeted me casually as they entered and took their seats, and although they didn’t know me (because I was new, and I was teaching in the secondary block), I still thought they didn’t show enough respect in their greeting, or even enough surprise, given that a strange face was in their bus!
Well, the bus was soon filled up and the driver and his assistant climbed in. They didn’t see me where I was seated because they didn’t even look well at the back. The driver drove off and we hit the road. I brought out a textbook and started to read.
Suddenly, the bus stopped. I was surprised, the school was very far from residential areas, so the nearest homes were up to ten minutes away, and I was sure we hadn’t been on the road for more than five minutes. I was still battling with my surprise when two men looking like they were in their late thirties entered the bus. Again, they didn’t look all the way to the back. The lady made signs to two girls, whom I later learned were in primary three and four respectively, and they stood up. The men sat on the seats the girls vacated, and then the girls sat on the men’s laps. The bus continued its journey, but I was observing the men.
For like two minutes, it seemed everything was normal. I would have continued reading my book if I hadn’t been uncomfortable with the driver picking strangers on the way. No sooner than I had finished my last line of thought than I noticed one of the men inappropriately touching one of the girls sitting on his laps! The man was circling fingers close to the girl’s crotch area, and the girl was obviously too young to understand what was happening. In fact, it struck me, given how calmly the pupils acted when the strangers entered the bus, and even when they saw me in the bus, that this was a regular occurrence!
I stood up and approached the center of the bus, careful not to lose balance because of the unsteady swaying of the bus. The lady looked back and saw me. She must have recognised me because her hand flew to her mouth in shock. The men heard her gasp and turned to see me. They too were shocked.
“What is happening here?” I querried.
The driver applied brakes immediately, the men stood up almost at the same time, and I could see bulges in their trousers. They each had an erection. It was obvious what was happening.
To cut the story short, I called the proprietress of the school on the phone and she was extremely furious. She got the driver and the lady arrested. The two men escaped and were never caught. The driver and the lady said they were only giving lifts to the men, but the children, when they were interrogated, revealed that it was happening very often.
Reason for that? No one knew. It remained a mystery until I left the school.
But the experience was an eye-opener.
Adults can betray trusts easily for weird reasons, so one has to be very careful. As a parent, surprise the school bus driver sometimes, come out to meet your child, don’t wait for the driver and his assistant to bring your child into your house for you. Also, ask your children questions when they return from school. You could learn a lot.
For schools with huge financial resources, it won’t be a bad idea to mount recording cameras in the bus.
Do you know what happens inside the bus which brings home your children from school? You should try to find out!
Safety is important!