Sunday, September 11, 2011

Owen's first day of school

So with the cooling of evenings, and the tomato plants withering on the vine comes the inevitable trip to pick up pencils, backpacks, new shoes, and binders. Yes. School.

Next year all three will be out all day (!)

I used to dread September. It was the end of freedom, when I would have to face all the other kids again.

Being the parent, it's very different. This year Jennifer and I had a whole bunch of anxiety about Owen going to school. It's like one of those milestones where they take a farther step away from home and toward independence, and for any parent that's terrifying.

Cole is old hat to this school thing, and wouldn't show excitement if I paid him.
Me: "You all ready?" Cole: "Yep."
"You excited?" "Nope."
He's already jaded (it happens so fast) seeing it as an encroachment on his unlimited play time. I guess it's not going to hurt to point out that he was already getting bored with summer, but he will I'm sure remember it in fond, shining glory, too bright in his mind, like Nirvana. *sigh*

Owen, however, stood the night before at the door in his underwear for over an hour, with his crocs, backpack, sunglasses, and a Bob the Builder construction helmet. I guess he figured that's what he needed to be prepared. He didn't even want to go to bed. I think he would've sat on the steps and waited if we'd let him.

Jenn and I were also not ready for Owen to go to school. . Our main concerns were: toileting, his tendency to overheat, special food needs, and whether or not they would be able to understand his speech.

Let me say that the school has been very good at the preparation for Owen's arrival. They not only were interested in his specific learning needs and his quirks, but have come up with plans for many of the things that could go wrong on the first day and thereafter.  Maybe it helps that the Principal has her degree in Special Education, or maybe it is because he's just darned cute....

They could have done this by a written questionnaire, the likes of which we'd seen before from various support groups, but no, they met with Jenn and I, and we went over the concerns one by one. Major win for the school board! From this meeting came several plans that are going to make his days easier, and will get him the best experience possible. If this means he will eventually enjoy school and not have such a hard time, then even better.

He was supposed to be on a special bus that picked him up at our door and took him to the school, and back.  Now because I wanted to make sure Owen's busing went well, like any good parent I drove to the school for 9am to watch as he got off the bus. I was going to just make sure there were no glitches, and not get involved.

I am so glad I did. 

I met his EA on the front steps, who was equally as confused as I was when the bus drove past, Owen's little hand out the window waving to his school.

She nervously laughed, and said "I'm sure they're just going to another school first."
Other buses coming in just before his bus drove past.

When it drove past a second time, and didn't stop, she and I both got worried. I began texting Jenn to tell her what was going on, and the EA tried to radio the bus. When that failed, she went inside to call the busing company.

Shortly after, they got through, and the bus came, and Owen ended up ten minutes late for class. First day glitch, I figured.

The next day, however, as he got on, the driver asked Jenn for a daily schedule, which we thought was odd, since working for the school you'd think they had one. By the time he was due home, Jenn waited, schedule in hand, at the end of the driveway. Ten minutes, twenty, then a half hour. Finally the call came through from the school. The bus driver had left Owen behind.

I could see leaving him on a day she didn't know she had to pick him up, but she was the one who drove him there in the morning!!!!

We were furious. We picked up Owen, and spent the next day on the phone. The school referred us to the transportation planning service who plan all of the busing in the area. They referred us to the bus company, who then said they have a contract to be at certain stops at certain times, and are penalized for not making their contract obligations. It turns out that they are contracted to drop Owen off before there is staff there to receive him, and to pick him up twenty minutes before school even lets out.

So who did we have to call?  The planning company. They pawned us off earlier in the day without talking to us, and that was probably a mistake. Jennifer left such an interesting message, quoting Section 1 of the Ontario Human Rights Code  that they had to consult with their legal department before calling us back.

They say they're going to have it fixed part way through next week, but for now we're crossing our fingers.

A teaser chapter for my current novel is now up!
Seven Gates

My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
eBook, pdf, mobi, epub, rtf, lrf, palm, txt
Kindle US
Kindle UK
Kindle Germany

No comments:

Post a Comment