Sharing recipes, crafts and frugal living, the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. Yoga Instructor said goodbye to her nightly glass of Chardonnay to give up habits that were not serving her purpose in life! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.

10/01/2008

Heart Attack

So at 32 I think I came close to a heart attack today. I was standing outside waiting for Logan to come out of his school with all the other moms and dads. Normal for me, I am chit chatting with another mom. I notice 4 kids from Logan's class come out, but no Logan. My heart begins to beat a little faster...I ask the mom next to me (a veteran school-picking-up-mom with older kids and also a daughter in Logan's class) if they bring all the kids out from the same class at the same time? Some days it seems like it and some days it doesn't. She is just as clueless as I am as to how this machine runs and asks her daughter if she saw Logan coming outside, her daughter says he was still sitting at the table in the cafeteria. Which is where the kids sit and wait for the 6th grade patrols to get them and bring them outside. So I head inside to see if he is sitting in the cafeteria. The 2 woman who watch the halls in the morning are in their normal positions and I tell them Logan didn't come out to be picked up. They direct me to his class saying to check there. So off we go, Zane and I at a brisk pace to the classroom.
Heart beating faster.
Oh I forgot to mention there was a substitute teacher today.
great.
The aide that helps another little boy in the class was standing at the door...young guy...could barely make eye contact with me...way too cool for this job. I ask him if Logan is in there and he says nonchalantly, "no Logan got on the bus."
"WHAT?!?! He doesn't ride the bus!"
"He said he rode the purple bus, he went with those kids."
My heart is in my throat. Tears barely holding back. I swoop Zane up and on my hip, and I run. I run like I am running for my life. Because you know what, I am. I dodge kids,jump semi over one. I run past the 2 women doing hall duty, them calling after me. I run out of the school and grab the school counselor with the walkie talkie. Barely able to talk because tears are about to explode and the ugly cry is about to happen, I muster...
"Logan gets picked up. Substitute teacher put him on the purple bus."
The doors of all the buses are closed, the engines humming.
She is quick to get the buses to stop... I jump on the purple bus and there he is... third row from the front looking lost, eyes wide.
Once off the bus I hug him and release some tears of relief. I explain to him that Mommy is not mad at him but I am mad at the substitute teacher for putting him on the bus when his backpack is labeled that he is a pick up.
We head into the school so I can complain because this is not happening again. This could have been really bad. What if I didn't catch the bus? And it's not just because there was a substitute teacher, why didn't the bus driver catch that they had a new kid on the bus that he/she has never seen? And would the driver notice if he got off with another kid?
Who is watching to make sure these kids leave the school and end up in the right hands? Every morning there is a huge fuss about having parents sign in with the office before walking their child into the school. Why isn't as much care taken to the kids leaving the school?
There is no room for error when it comes to the safety of our children. And if I have to I will be a thorn in their side reminding them that they better keep my child safe or they will be held accountable. This was unacceptable.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Gretchen,
This is just horrible. I can't believe they were so careless with a child.
Anna

morninglight mama said...

What a complete disaster-- there is no excuse for the ball being dropped like this, substitute or not. I do hope you receive the reassurance from the admin that this will NEVER happen again.

Kelly M said...

Gretchen,
As I was reading this tears were welling up in my eyes because I can imagine the feelings of absolute terror you must have felt. I am so glad Logan was alright! I had a bad experience with child care the other day. And it was my very first time leaving River for an hour! It made me feel like I never wanted to leave him again for the next 10 years! I never thought I could love someone so much.
Can't wait to see you in early December!!
-Kelly

Valerie Trefry said...

Gretchen,

I too started to tear up while reading about Logan's unplanned bus adventure. It reminded me of a situation when my Christina was only 5 (she is now 21 - this should make you feel old). Christina was in morning Kindergarten and although parents had to provide transportation to school, bus transportation was provided home mid day. She insisted I allow her to ride the bus home with her new friends. While waiting for her one afternoon, with my 2 year old Emily in tow, the bus proceeded to stop and let the children out. I quickly noticed there was a very tiny girl who got out of the bus when Christina did. I knew Christina was the only bus rider at this particular stop, so I quickly questioned the bus driver. She said the little girl was supposed to get out at the previous stop, but since there was no one at the stop she didn't remember to let her out. She let her off with me saying she could walk the block to the previous stop. I explained this was not a good idea as I did not know this little girl and she certainly couldn't walk alone. While I was fussing with the bus driver, she proceeded to close the door and pull off. This was not a time of cell phones, so I took all three girls and walked over to my townhouse. I had the three of them sit on edge of the property while I grabbed the phone from inside. I contacted the school and explained how I was standing outside so I could keep an eye out for a frantic mother. The administrators at the school quickly had a People Personel Worker come to sit with us until they could find the mother. They also contacted the bus driver and had her report back to the school. While chatting with this little girl, I found out she was only 3 years old and in Pre K. Things could have gone horribly wrong that day and I am just grateful I was the one to help. You need to follow up on this and be assured by the administration this will never happend again. Stay strong. Love, Aunt Val

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