Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mauve bus

I'm curious is there are any other Charlottesville City Schools parents out there who are having issues with the "Mauve" bus. Because we sure are. Here it is, the third week of school, and my husband and I have already made two calls to the bus garage to complain. That's two more calls than we have made in the past ten years of having children in CCS.

Today, for the third time in three weeks, my two children who go to Charlottesville High School were left behind at school and I had to pick them up. Why? Because the children are supposed to associate their bus route with a color, but on some days the mauve bus doesn't arrive and the kids who ride it are supposed to take a bus of a different color. Which would be fine if more than the minimal effort were made to notify the children.

When I picked my children up at school today--which was a huge inconvenience, Belmont isn't exactly next-door to CHS's neighborhood--I went into the office to complain. All the administrators were in a meeting, but clerical staff I spoke to were sympathetic and also were not at all surprised that it was mauve bus I had issues with. One staff member interrupted the meeting and an assistant administrator came out to talk to me. He blamed the problem partly on the fact that the buses are always late this year and partly on the fact that the kids aren't paying attention when he walks among the crowd notifying them of the bus change. When I said that more effort could be used to notify the kids and suggested the use of a megaphone, his facial expression closed and he seemed defensive.

So let me get this straight: Charlottesville High School has about 1,000 students. Half pick up their buses at the Performing Arts Center, the other half (including mine) at the main school entrance. In other words, you have 500 noisy teenagers milling around outside the front entrance and one man walking around announcing the bus change without any voice enhancer such as a megaphone and it's the children's fault that they miss the bus?

Before speaking to the administrator, I called the bus garage, but unfortunately the person who answered the phone did not seem to have the intellectual capacity to form or understand complex sentences. When I asked to be put in touch with the correct person to whom I could complain, I was put on indefinite hold.

Also, we've had issues with how the mauve bus driver relates to the students. On the first day of school, she drove right past my children--who stood with a group of other CHS students. She deliberately did not pick them up--even though she admitted seeing the kids--because they weren't standing exactly where she wanted them to. She drove all the way to the school, then returned to pick up my kids who were left stranded for an hour. I had no idea this happened until that afternoon when my kids told me about it. I feel my children's safety was compromised, and I also feel the the Charlottesville City Schools are responsible for the safe transport of its students to and from school. Leaving kids stranded on a street corner for an hour endangered my children and the others waiting with them.

In another incident with this same driver, she refused to let my children on her bus because, she said, their names weren't on her list.

And it's only the third week of school.

I am furious.


  1. If you go to the CCS website, I believe that you will find the name of the person in charge of school transportation. I can't remember his name off the top of his head, but I do know that he is responsible and responsive. I suggest that you schedule a meeting with him and also one with the CHS principal. What the hell, request a meeting with Rosa Atkins, the superintendent too.

    If you can't get meetings, send letters via certified mail to all three of the above and tell them you expect responses by a certain date.

    Detail your complaints on paper and give them copies of your complaints. List each and every problem, with dates and, if possible, names of CCS personnel involved.

    If you have time, read the CCS website carefully for information related to transportation matters. I believe that by law, the school system is required to provide your children with safe and timely transportation to school. If you can include that legal code in writing and cite it during your meetings, that would probably help remind them of their responsibilities.

    Raise hell constantly until the situation is resolved to YOUR satisfaction.

    I'm just shaking my head over all this. I'm just stunned that it's gotten this bad. Keep us posted.

  2. I think there MUST be a connection between all this bus nonsense and the use of colors for each bus. What genius thought up that concept?

    I don't have your non-gmail email address. Can you send me an email with it?