Stuck in the Middle: Hop on the Bus Gus
The new Co-op Gas Station and Convenience Store has created new challenges for us. Since we are closed campus and we can not supervise students who leave school property we are not able to allow students to leave campus to go to the Co-op after school for a Slurpee or snack. Unfortunately, this has changed our daily bus supervision routine. What has traditionally been an enjoyable part of my day; hanging out with the kids while they waited for the bus to go home has turned into Co-op patrol duty.
I know that being worried about a few students walking 200 yards to buy a Slurpee shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. The goal of a closed campus is to keep the kids safe all times. We know from experience that middle school students start to make poor decisions when they are allowed to roam away from the school.
The week before Christmas Break while I was walking to the corner of the sidewalk to check for students leaving the property I noticed a grade 8 boy standing with his friends at the crosswalk by the Co-op drinking a huge red Slurpee. The Slurpee seemed to shine like a flashing red RCMP light and I could easily spot it from a distance. His eyes locked with mine for a brief second before he slid behind his friends. His buddies were all Sidney residents and they were all walking home, so his plan must have been to blend in with them until I stopped watching.
After five minutes I think he realized that I as not moving, so he quickly had to come up with an alternate plan to avoid me. He followed his friends across the crosswalk and I watched him wave down the school bus coming off the highway. Maybe he was listening to Paul Simon on his headphones singing, “Hop on the Bus Gus.” And when the bus driver pulled over and picked him up that was exactly what he did. There must be 50 ways to leave your….principal (standing at the corner).
Unfortunately for our daring young man, the bus still had to come into the school bus zone to pick up his schoolmates for their ride home. By the time the bus stopped I was at the front of the bus line. Soon our young friend and I were making a lunchtime date at the office. We are fair, firm and consistent with re-enforcing the closed campus expectations, but we also understand that middle school students will occasionally make poor choices. To keep them safe we expect them not to make the same mistake again.
At North Saanich Middle School you might be able to sneak off the property to shop at the Co-op, but getting back to the bus stop is harder. I hope the novelty of the Co-op wears off, but if it doesn’t then I have to let the students know now that Paul Simon is right and they will have to ‘Make a new plan Stan to set themselves free!’
Paul Simon’s - 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover -