28 answers

Problems on School Bus

We just got here about a month ago to the Kaiserslautern area. My son goes to Vogelweh Elementary and likes it o.k. so far. My problem is with the oversight on the busses, the kids on there are just unbelievably rude and crude.
And I used to drive a school bus state side so I do not have any unreasonable expectations.
But apparently there is nothing the bus driver or bus aide can do as far as authority over these kids is concerned.
The only thing we can do is have my child identify the problem kids ( who called him a M.F. and everything else in the book, threw stuff at him, pick on special needs kids drop the f bomb constantly all the way down to kindergardeners) and then he is going to be the scape goat for everyone...
I am just wondering if anyone else is unhappy with the bus situation...

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone for your input, things have improved.

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I had to cut my last message short to tend to my toddler. I am growing more concerned because there is not anyone on the bus that can bring any order and discipline. I am going to contact the number that was suggested to find out what we as parents can do to assist. We live in Quidersbach and I just talked with my daughter to find out what was going on. More to follow.

When we first moved to the K-town area I was very concerned about my younger children sharing a bus with high schoolers. To test the waters I signed up to be the bus monitor for 2 weeks- It was pretty inconvenient but it gave me a good look at the environment and what type of children my children were going to be sharing the bus with. For the most part the younger children should be in the front with the ages gradually increasing toward the back where the high schoolers are. What I found though is that it's actually the elementary school children who are the mouthiest. The older kids are just bearing the ride out with their i-pods in their ears. Being a bus monitor is an option for every parent- Just contact Jensen Moors at the bus office and he can help you with that. You're right too about the drivers being unable to discipline. What they can do is get the principal involved. Children are held accountable for their actions on the bus by their school principal. Just call her (Ms. Donaldson) or Ms. Paige and they will call out the child who is causing the trouble. That sort of behavior is completely unacceptable ad should not be tolerated by anyone.

Good luck!!

V. and others with bus safety concerns,

I know a person who sees the same problems you do and has plans to fight/fix the existing system. The more stories he can quote and tell about the stronger his case will be. I strongly suggest you call Capt. Sauve at Life Skills on Ramstein at 06371-46-2390. He cares and is willing to put the effort into advocating for change because there are such huge safety problems for the children with the existing system. Once again, the more stories he has the stronger his arguments will be.

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I'm with Deb on this one. I have noticed the problems on the bus, my son when we first moved to Germany said that the older kids curse and stuff he has told me about the things that happen on the bus, he has not been teased as far as I know and has handled himself rather well when situations have occured. When I first arrived to Germany I had all types of paperwork instructing me as to how to walk my son to the bus stop for his safety and not to park and wait in certain places for the bus until he is a certain age or grade, he was in the second grade at the time and never rode the bus to and from school so I walked him everyday and picked him up at the bus stop and I think that is why he never had any problems with bullying. There were other children at the stop that were younger than he was and their parents sent them to the bus stop which I thought was really dangerous with the busy streets and it would be dark and icy sometimes! Traffic does not stop for the bus so if the bus comes and your child is trying to cross the street, well... I do remember seeing a volunteer bus monitor paper where parents can sit on the bus and ride with the bus on a volunteer basis some parents that are having trouble should try this, Like Deb says the bus driver is there to transport not discipline our children! Some bus drivers barely speak english well. It is our job to make sure that our children are acting appropriately on the bus, find out who some of these kids parents are. I hear the parents when you say contact transportation and for some situations that is necessary but if we are really concerned with what is going on we need to get involved and follow the rules and walk our children to thier stops and volunteer if we really want to see a difference!

2 moms found this helpful

I used to drive a school bus State side too and had a 6th grader come up and attack me while I was driving. I wish everyone would stop blameing the bus driver. You are forgetting what it's like when your "FEW" kids are in your vehicle and the bus driver has 40 or so to tune out, if he is able to drown all that racket out enough to concentrate on the road to get them back home to their families, you should be gratefull for that. I've delt w/ issues on the bus too for the last 3 years. I have come up w/ only one salution. We as parents need to come together and stop blaming eachother. We need to all agree to take on the bus monitor duty. Team up w/ another parent to take you to the starting point, have them pick you up at school and then take you back to school and meet you back at the end of the route. That is the only way that it will ever be possible to have a parent on the bus that is from our route. If anyone agrees we can attempt to try this. I'm in Queidersbach, though I'm unliked because I am always watching the kids by either following the bus home and seeing who is jumping from seat to seat, or eating and drinking on the bus, or throwing stuff. If this happened in my auto, I'd pull over and we'd have a come to Jesus meeting!

1 mom found this helpful

HI V.
We are in Hanau and I had an issue with my 8 yr old and some older kids on the bus. After they would ger off the bus these big kids would just fight my little one kicking him and ripping his clothes. They even stole his bus pass once. I spoke with the bus director and he advised me to go to the principal. I did and she was very helpful. She took recess away from the boys doing it and also seperated them on the bus. I was told if anything more would happen they would be suspended. Nothing further has happened and I am very pleased. The principal here says she is responceable for the children on the bus as well. I hope this helps you out. J.

I'm guessing that it might be the bus driver cause my daughter also goes the Volelweh and rides the bus for 20 minutes she has said that her bus driver has asked them to be quiet the driver knows a little English. I have hurd the same thing from one of the other girls that get on the bus with her and my daughter has said that she has hurd a white kid call a brown kid raciset names she hasn't said anything about it lately so I hope it has been taken care of. I haven't thought of this before when I was told thie but It might because the driver and the aid are German and don't know the much Engish. I have told my daughter to sit up front so that hopefully this doesn't happen I have told her this when the school year started. If you haven't tried I would see if your son could get this kids name and go or call the school office and tell them what is going on , from the few things I have gone to in this school they don't like to put up with this kind of stuff.

I have read all of the responses and it seems that this is an ongoing problem with the bus system over here in Germany. I would suggest taking the comments (without the names of course) to the KA newspaper and see if they will do a story on it. Also, I would suggest taking the same comments to the commander on Vogelweh so that he knows what is going on. You tried going up the chain of command through the bus office and the school. Now it is time to go further. Some of the kids in the schools here can be pretty rough. My son walks but has had run ins with kids in school as well. Good luck.

I live in Idar-Oberstein,Germany and my children go to a DoDDES school, they also ride a school bus. The bus driver and aide should be able to get the trouble makers suspended from the bus and if this action is taken more than three times, the trouble makers should be permanently disallowed from riding the bus at all. Go to the transportation department, see if you can get the rules of behavior on the bus and let them know that this is being tolerated on your child's bus. I hope this gets resolved, good luck!

My daughter also rides the bus to Vogelweh Elementary. She is 7 years old and a pretty tough girl, but she and her friend still get bullied on a daily basis. Just yesterday she was telling me that two girls started slapping her in the face just to get a quarter from her! My husband and I are furious! In addition, she said that two boys got into a fight on the bus yesterday and were cursing at one another the entire ride home. The bus driver did nothing. This is not the first incident either, and the administration seems to be uninterested in resolving the issue.

I think that we as parents should come together and march into the principal's office with a list of our complaints, a record of all incidents, and a demand for change. Nothing will get fixed unless we all speak up together. Maybe if our school administrators were bombarded with 100 or more parents in their offices at a time, they would get the point.

I had to cut my last message short to tend to my toddler. I am growing more concerned because there is not anyone on the bus that can bring any order and discipline. I am going to contact the number that was suggested to find out what we as parents can do to assist. We live in Quidersbach and I just talked with my daughter to find out what was going on. More to follow.

I would contact the school bus office concerning the problem. I know they had problems here, Misawa, Japan and took care of it so that the high school students do not ride the same bus as the younger kids because of language and physical things. They also do not turn the radio on any more because at the time the content of AFN was not very high. That has changed since my husband voiced his concern to AFN. Have you mentioned it to the princpal? The bus driver and aide should have enough authority over the kids to control them. The problem students do not need to be picked up - thus causing the parents to be aware of the situation.

Hello V. & Welcome to Germany! I'm in Mannhiem. You can learn more about me/us by reading my profile. I too had this problem when we were stationed Stateside. And same as you they did nothing. What we had to do was go into the school itself, talk to the Principal (demand this if you have to, I had too). Tell the Principal what's going on with your child on the bus. Also, tell the Principal that if you have to, you'll ride the bus with your child to get the mean kids' names etc & to Protect YOUR child if you have to! I did this as well, & just let me say that the Principal did in fact take action. But by then the mean kids had taken to being mean to my child in the school/classroom itself so we opted to HomeSchool at that point, which has worked out wonderfully for us. Because we're still doing this. There are lot's of families that do this here in Germany. You may want to look into this option, if you run out of other options with Public School.
I hope what little information I've given you has helped, even a bit.
With regards,
N.

V. and others with bus safety concerns,

I know a person who sees the same problems you do and has plans to fight/fix the existing system. The more stories he can quote and tell about the stronger his case will be. I strongly suggest you call Capt. Sauve at Life Skills on Ramstein at 06371-46-2390. He cares and is willing to put the effort into advocating for change because there are such huge safety problems for the children with the existing system. Once again, the more stories he has the stronger his arguments will be.

When we first moved to the K-town area I was very concerned about my younger children sharing a bus with high schoolers. To test the waters I signed up to be the bus monitor for 2 weeks- It was pretty inconvenient but it gave me a good look at the environment and what type of children my children were going to be sharing the bus with. For the most part the younger children should be in the front with the ages gradually increasing toward the back where the high schoolers are. What I found though is that it's actually the elementary school children who are the mouthiest. The older kids are just bearing the ride out with their i-pods in their ears. Being a bus monitor is an option for every parent- Just contact Jensen Moors at the bus office and he can help you with that. You're right too about the drivers being unable to discipline. What they can do is get the principal involved. Children are held accountable for their actions on the bus by their school principal. Just call her (Ms. Donaldson) or Ms. Paige and they will call out the child who is causing the trouble. That sort of behavior is completely unacceptable ad should not be tolerated by anyone.

Good luck!!

weve been here almost 3 years and my kids took the bus for the first year we were here . we near ramstien and the bus was horrible same experience as you with rude kids , cussing bullying and overcrowded kids were 4 to a seat and some standing i have 4 kids and the youngest one was only in 1st grade and was being stampeded with my friends kinderardner while trying to get on the bus the older kids were trying to get to the back of the bus . my friend and i kept going to the transportation ofice and kept emailing and they finally sent another bus to our area and put my kids and my friends kids on that bus . you just have to be a pain in their behind to get them to take any actions

Jut wanted to say thanks for bringing this issue up. I am a mom of a 5 year old who will be going to Vogelweh Elementary in the fall. I have decided to drive her due to how many parents have told me about how bad the language, among other things that you have mention, is on the bus. I really wish that the school could step up and take care of the problem. That is a very sad thing that the aids are not stepping up and watching out for the kids on those buses! Thanks again and I hope that you picking him up helps some! Take care!

V.,
I live in K-town as well. We have only been here since December. I have a freshman at Kaiserslautern High School at Vogelweh. I haven't had any situations on the bus that she has mentioned to me but she is alot older than your son. She is the first one to get on her bus in the mornings. I don't believe that you would have to put up with this kind of behavior and torment towards your son. Have you gone to the transportation office at the school? There is no reason for that to happen at all! I have experienced very rude individuals here and from my understanding that is they way they are but our children should not have to pay the price for it. I would definitely report it to the transportation office. I hope that you get settled soon. I am still trying to get settled!!! Take care.

V.,
I also live in Germany (Ramstein School District); my children rode the bus for about a year until we moved on base. I know a lot of people that go through this; going to the bus monitor office DOES NOT HELP! You should go to the High School and Middle School and speak to the principles and demand action for your bus. This is unacceptable behavior and you and your child should not have to tolerate it. I actually located a child that was tormenting my then kindergartener and went to her school and told the principle that if she did not contact the parents of the child then I would confront them (and it would not be pretty). Needless to say, the child started being nicer. Other children have been kicked off the school bus for these types of behaviors; trust me, that is when their parents finally take action. Good luck!

My son will go to Kindergarten next year in Baumholder so I don't know about Kaiserslatern. However, when I substitute taught at the middle school in Schweinfurt a few years ago there were kids getting in trouble on the bus alot of times. The bus driver would report them and usually they got suspended from the bus for a period of time. Maybe you could request to ride along so you can see for yourself one day. I think parents did that sometimes. Also, if you find out who the kids are and the school or bus driver won't do anything maybe you could talk to the Chain of Command for the soldier. I know they did that in Schweinfurt too because my husband was a Commander and would have to counsel soldiers on their kids behaviors on the bus. As I said I don't have the experience of a parent with a kid on the bus yet(next year) but this is from what I remember as a sub. Have you talked to the Principal of the school?
J.

V.,

This is not just a Ktown issue - it's a DoDDS issue altogether. We have been over here in Germany since 2005 and for the first 2 yrs my daughter (now 11) was on the bus every day with High schoolers! I thought this was totally inappropriate but got no where with it. Now she is on with just Middle and Elementary but most of the bus drivers don't speak english, nor do the monitors! In Wuerzburg when we were there - parents were allowed to be monitors - but apparently not out here at Graf where we are now.

No advice here - just letting you know it's not just in your area!

~K.~

Hi, I just wanted to say if the bus office asks for the problems you are having in writing then you should email them all the informaiotn you have. They work together with the schools on problems on the bus. The school is the final say on the problems but if the bus office does not know about them then they can't help. I saw allot of people talk about the other adult on the bus. From what I have learned those other adults are not on the bus to watch the students but to keep an eye outside the bus. If something happens on the bus and the driver does see it threw the mirror then they can get the students name and report it to the bus office. However if the driver does not see it it's really hard for them to report it. Now with that if a student goes home and tell there mom or dad then the parent can email the bus office with the information so the school can take action. If a mom or dad wants to be a monitor the bus office is more than happy to have them. But from what I have been told it is for atleast two weeks on both runs.
We need to work with the bus office and schools to make the buses safe. We as parents need to explain to our kids that if they heard bad words then they should tell us or even if they see somenthing wrong on the bus they should tell us.

Contact the school bus office immediately. They may have you then go to the school principal or vice principal. Make sure you have a copy of their school bus manual in hand. You need to let them know that you are not happy with the behavior on the bus and that it will not be tolerated. They should have policies in place to remove the offender or offenders from the bus for a period of time as punishment. If the offending behavior continues they should be removed from the bus for the remainder of the school year. Unfortunately it seems that the bus driver and "monitor" on the bus have little ability to stop the offenders. Sometimes the adults on the bus do not speak enough english to be able to effectively communicate withe the students and school staff.

Unfortunately I am a parent that's been through this this year. Continue to report the behavior and insist that the offender(s) be removed. You must be persistant but the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Just a suggestion...I would ask the School Bus Office if it would be possible for you or your spouse to volunteer as a secondary bus aide for a few days. It would give you an up close look of what's actually taking place and give you a face to put it with.

Holy Cow! That is NOT acceptable! Children who behave like that really get on my nerves... That said, I am a mother of 6 children, four of which ride the Dodds school bus to school regularly. We are currently stationed in England... but as far as I know all Dodds bus systems are the same.

I would call the school first and make a formal complaint and at the same time ask for the school bus office number.. (Not sure if you've already done this) but the school bus office people will become your best friends... All you have to do is describe to them what the children look like, act like and what bus they ride on (Have your son there if you can)... and they will know exactly who you are talking about. They will also make phone calls to those parents and believe me... kids act better once their parents are involved... also, after three offenses they are kicked off the bus.

Don't be afraid of telling on them... that's what bullies like that thrive on -the kids that don't stand up for themselves... also if those kids know there's a parent involved they generally back off anyway.

I would definitely want to know if one of MY children were misbehaving... and as a matter of fact have had to deal with one of my own children (1st grader at the time) for rude behavior on buses in the past. He is really good now! (It seems lots of extra chores after school isn't what he had on his adgenda when he came home! hahaha!)

Also the key is to really get to know the people at the bus office, call them EVERY day with complaints if you have to. I promise it will be stopped.

And if it doesn't work... we're moving there this summer and my kids will go to the elementary school and I'll help you fight it next fall.. No way will my kids feel afraid to travel to a NEW school, I mean they already have to leave home... why make them even more insecure..? besides if the system isn't working properly then how am I to know if my kids are the ones causing problems?

We live in Heidelberg, and unfortunately the same things are happening on the buses here. My daughter doesn't ride the bus, but I have friends with children who do. Kids are getting physical and are doing the same verbal things you mentioned, and on one bus the kids were even "flashing" each other, and some of them were Kindergartners. This didn't make sense to me since they have a bus monitor on the bus, so one of my friends asked why the bus monitor wasn't stopping this behavior. They were told the monitor was there to monitor safety, not behavior. Unfortunately, most of my friends now drive their children to school because they could not get resolution to these issues. I think your only option here is to keep contacting the bus office and school about this, alhtough I'm not sure they can do anything. Apperently the bus drivers here do not have the right to tell the kids what to do. I know when I was growing up that none of this behavior would have been tolerated on the bus I rode, and that's the way it should be here. I know I wasn't much help, but I wanted to let you know that is a pretty common problem here in Germany.

Hi V., as a School Liaison, I certainly hope something is done about this terrible situation. May I advise contacting the CYS School Liaison (Contact Child and Youth Services for contact name and number) for K-Town and see what they can do about this matter. The School Liaison has a direct link to the Commander for issues like this. This is definitely inappropriate for our standards here in Korea, so I don't know why they would put up with it there! Good Luck

Thank you for addressing this problem--I am new to mamasource and so far have just been 'lurking' as a figure it out but this topic gets to me! We are stationed at the JMRC in Hohenfels, Germany and have had a horrible time with the bus situation. My children (daughters age 10 and 8) get on the bus on the last bus stop--here is the first problem. My girls get on the bus and if there are seats available, everyone says- you can't sit here- They all want their own seats. If they sit down anyway, they get griped at , picked on the whole time. If there are no seats available the monitor makes them go sit in the back with the teens (instead of picking out the high schooler sitting in the front and making them go in the back). The teens are horribly rude. (our buses cover K-12) They name call, play the 'staring game', and threaten. At the beginning of the year my oldest defended a Kindergartener (our neighbor) and that seems to be the start of it all. The principle told her to not stick up for anyone ('huh--that so goes against everything we have tried to teach our children!) There was a 2nd grader who kicked my oldest everytime she walked by and called her names-we made an unofficial complaint, then an official one. The child was spoken to but then her teen-age sister found out about it and started threatening my daughter saying things like "i'm going to hit that girl, I hate that girl" So, my daughter quickly learned that if she reports anything than things get worse. Though I reported that too, nothing was ever done about it. Then a boy started picking on her. Her takes votes to see how many kids on the bus hate her, threatens the younger daughter, etc. Again, several official reports but nothing was done. The bus monitors are not to "do anything but look for terrorist activity"--ok-baloney! So on the off-chance there might be a terrorist in wait for our bus, my children get harrassed and threatened. Isn't that a form of terrorism? The bus office says there is nothing they can do about seperating the high schoolers from the grade schoolers. My kids were assigned official seats but someone is always sitting there. I have repeatedly told the bus monitor that my children are not allowed to sit anywhere near this boy. She speaks a little english, the bus driver not at all. BTW-there is also a lot of foul language, a boy who told everyone to "shut up, i'm trying to have sex with my woman" and "anyone want to see my weiner"? My younger child was in hysterics for 3 weeks about getting on the bus--she was making herself physically ill. She wouldn't get on at all, we were finally able to work through that with the school psychologist. My husband and I take them/pick them up as often as possible but it is not always a possibility. It makes me soooo mad that we have to deal with this situation at all! Thanks for letting me vent and for sharing your story--maybe if we get it out there. . .

Wow.. I can't believe that the bus monitor isn't doing anything about this. My kids don't ride the bus anymore since we moved on post but when we were in Giebelstadt they would ride the bus and the monitors were very strict and kids would be written up and could get suspended off the bus in which the parents would have to drive them to school. It is my understanding that riding the bus is a privilege. I would first ask the bus office what exactly the monitor is allowed to do. After speaking with them I would also file an ICE complaint. And if you don't get anywhere with that I would take your issue and voice your complaint at a town hall meeting. I wouldn't have your son point the finger just because I don't like involving kids directly in issues if it isn't necessary and you might find that after talking with others that they have the same issues.

Hi V.,

I feel for you on the bus situation. That is all I've ever heard about it. My son (kindergarten) wouldn't even ride it to go to school. Finally he would ride it to go home, but then he was also coming home in tears sometimes and telling me what the kids were saying, and apparently his route was one of the tamer ones. Not only because of that, but I ended up pulling him out and am homeschooling now!! I even called the bus office to see about doing a "practice day" on the bus before school starts for the k-gartners and parents to do the whole route together. Of course if they did that next year it would be great. I asked about being a parent monitor just ONCE so he'd at lest do it and feel comfortable after that, but they said I had to commit to two weeks - both full routes!! There is no way I could do that with two other small kids!!

So yes, its frustrating and you're definitely not the only one!!

I went through the same thing when we lived in the K-Town area. We had a lot of troublemakers on our bus and it seems like the school doesn't care. My oldest daughter got into an argument with another girl, (who was harassing my youngest daughter). This girl physically put her hands on my daughter and threw a lot of cuss words at her, calling her names I don't even hear adults use! Well, she was suspended from the bus for 3 days, while my daughter was suspended for 10 days!

I was outraged. I went to the school and talked to the principal. He said that the other girl had admitted to putting her hands on my daughter, but the punishments were already handed out, so there was nothing he could do. Um...excuse me?? Aren't you the principal? I filed a complaint in writing. Never heard anything on that one. Needless to say, nothing more was ever done. The principal claimed that he had no say so over the busses and the German guy at the bus office acted like he didn't care at all.

So, while I wish I could give you some advice, instead I'll just wish you luck. The bus system in K-Town is an utter nightmare...

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