Hop Off the Bus Gus

I love Paul Simon and while this article has nothing to do with his music, that one line comes to mind when I think about my experience with school transportation in Tennessee. 

When I was a kid, you only rode the bus when you lived really far from school. In California this rule still seems to apply, but in Tennessee, you can live fairly close to school and still catch the bus. As a matter of fact when you sign your child up for school (mine was a ninth grader when we moved here), they look up your address and then ask if your child plans on riding the bus. It’s almost expected. You simply have to say yes or no and you’re in. 

Sweet. More sleep, less hassle getting them to school on time and less arguing on the way. Your child may kick and scream and view the bus as a ride for losers and they may even be embarrassed to take the bus the first couple times. But then, all of a sudden, they  stop complaining about it and even seem to look forward to weekday mornings. 

By the end of ninth grade, our son said the bus ride to and from school was his favorite part of the day. In Tennessee, it seems like more kids ride the bus than those whose parents drop them off.  If your child freaks out when you announce how he/she is getting back and forth to school, give it a couple weeks and they’ll settle right in. 

In Tennessee, instead of running out the door and racing my child to school at 75 MPH because he overslept, he has to be at the bus stop on the corner (one house down from us) at 6:20 AM. That’s right. I said 6:20. And if he misses the bus and he’s late? Well, he gets detention after school. 

After raising three boys and living through over a thousand hectic and angry mornings, it doesn’t get much better than this for parents. 

So Here’s your checklist for the school year (if Covid allows of course).  

  1. Frozen breakfast food stocked up so you can sleep in…check. 
  2. Spare key in his backpack in case he forgets something so you don’t have to get out of bed…check. 
  3. Salt the steps and walkway the night before in case it freezes so there are no trips to the ER…check.
  4. Jacket by the front door in case he forgets the temperatures can drop below zero here. Naaaa…It’ll only take him once and he’ll never forget his jacket again. 

The moral of the story is, say yes to the bus and let your child learn to make their own breakfast, brush their own teeth and get to school on time. And if by chance they do get detention for being late, don’t worry. They have a bus for that too. 

Welcome to Tennessee mom and dad. You’re going to love it here. 

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