I was at the recent Lakewood, NJ, School Board meeting at which various concerns regarding school bussing were addressed. Clearly, there are improvements to be made, but sometimes people get so blinded by their emotions and frustrations that they fail to take the whole picture into consideration.
The past couple of days, including this morning, with snow falling, I drove around and observed bus drivers, bus pickups, bus routes and the overall state of bussing in Lakewood. Interestingly, most disturbing of what I witnessed had nothing to do with the bussing. It had to do with people’s general driving habits. Based on my count at various intersections, 8 out of every 10 drivers failed to come to a complete stop at stop signs. Most just rolled right through. Many drivers failed to give busses priority when making turns. I was quite disappointed.
As for the bussing, what I observed were bus drivers – frum, Jewish and non-Jewish ones – really working hard, trying their best to get their routes done quickly and safely. I observed one driver going out of his way to pick up some girls in a safer spot, even though it was greatly inconvenient for him. I observed another driver apologizing to a parent for coming several minutes late. I waited at several stops and watched how the bus drivers stopped their buses and conducted themselves. Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with them and their approach.
I am a parent and I have spent my share of cold winter mornings waiting for buses. I have had to drive my children to school a number of times when the buses didn’t come or were very late. I have had my share of frustrations. But at the end of the day, the drivers and operators are people. They are people who are trying to make it work. They are good, caring people. And they should know that. I don’t know if they read Matzav or if they will see this letter, so if you know a driver, share this letter with them and let them know that at least some of us recognize their efforts in transporting our children safely and with care.
And as for the rest of us, perhaps we should focus on our own driving habits. Let’s start with someone simple, like actually stopping at a stop sign.
D. D. L.