Schools, School Buses, and SoHum
On “Thank Jah its Friday” today on KMUD, Solar Dan offered an interesting solution to the current transportation problem facing the SoHum Unified School District.
For those of you who don’t live in SoHum, you probably don’t know that this very rural school district, covering an area about the size of Rhode Island, relies, or at least relied on, a one million dollar annual state subsidy to provide school bus service to the 700 or so school age students who live here in SoHum.
Last week the school board was informed that this subsidy had been cut from the state budget. So, the school district will run out of money for bus service in February. Lay off notices went out to all school bus drivers and other transport personnel just a few days ago. Starting next month, parents will be responsible for getting their kids to and from school.
My initial response was HURRAY!!! I know a lot of people like schools, and some folks even send their kids there, but I don’t care. I hate schools. I hate school buses, and I really don’t care much for school children.
I went to school. I know what goes on there. I also went to school in a rural district and spent over two hours a day in school buses getting there and back. I don’t wish that on anyone.
Even though I’ve been out of school for thirty years or so, the wounds I suffered there still pain me today. I learned to hate school early. By second grade, I had had enough. I couldn’t take it any more, and I was driven to commit an act of terrorism against a school bus.
As the youngest of a team of conspirators at my school bus stop, all of us disillusioned by school, we spent our time together at the bus stop, talking about how we could sabotage the bus, as to prevent it from making it to school. As we stood there, in the crisp morning air waiting for the inevitable arrival of that giant banana slug that would swallow us whole, grunt, groan and lurch about for another hour and a half, and eventually spit us out, nauseous and desperate to pee, at school, we would dream up elaborate schemes to disable the school bus.
Most of these plans involved technology, knowledge,and financial resources that we, as school children, lacked. But, finally, we arrived at a plan that was within our, quite limited, realm of the possible. We figured that we could put nails on the roadway, that might penetrate the tread of the school bus tire, causing a flat tire. That would leave the bus stranded by the side of the road. At last, we had a real workable plan.
The next day, I deliberately left the house by the side door, rather than the front, which led me past my father’s workbench. I knew that an open box of nails sat on top of it. I stealthily grabbed a handful of nails as I passed, and shoved them in my coat pocket. When I got to the bus stop, I showed them to my friends, and said, “Here’s just what we need!”
That’s when I first noticed my friend’s real ambivalence about actually carrying out the sabotage we had planned. They weren’t serious about it. For them, this had all been idle talk to pass a few minutes, but I hated school. I wanted to sabotage the bus, for real. I wanted that bus to be stuck by the side of the road with a flat tire, and I wanted to be late, maybe even an hour or two late for school as a result. I wanted it bad. I hated school. Did I say that before?
We had a plan. I had the tools right in the palm of my hands. I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip by. I convinced them to go through with it. We scattered a few nails on the road, but didn’t think they would go through the tire if they were laying on their side. So, we stood one of the nails up on its head, with a few pebbles to stabilize it, right where we thought the bus tire would hit it.
My heart pounded as the bus approached, but I kept my cool. The oldest boy in our terrorist cell, however, watched the bus hit the nail, and made a gleeful display as it happened. That tipped-off the driver, so forget about the “not getting caught” part.
As it turned out, the bus didn’t get a flat tire, and we arrived at school, right on time. Later that day, however, I received a note to report to the Principle’s office. The older boys all fingered me, the second grader, as the mastermind. I played dumb and young, which, at 8yrs old, I did pretty convincingly. We had come up with that plan together. We all had a part in doing it, but the nails matched the ones on my dad’s workbench, so they had physical evidence against me.
I don’t remember the punishment. Getting caught was bad enough. Finding out that most people are just talk, and won’t do anything unless you push them, coupled with the knowledge that my friends had ratted me out, and that our plan had completely failed, affected me deeply. As a result, I still hate school buses, and school children, and most of all, I still hate schools.
Schools are prisons for children, and taxpayer-subsidized daycare for the selfish, irresponsible half-wits who have the nerve to reproduce in the face of global ecosystem collapse. …And why is this country overrun with greedy morons who reproduce like rabbits, gladly send their kids to prison, and have no idea how to live sustainably on this planet? Public schools, that’s why.
Kids aren’t born that stupid. It takes years of expensive, daily instruction to crush a child’s natural curiosity and intelligence. Public schools don’t produce intelligent, thoughtful and creative minds, they transform them into mindless consumers of pap.
So don’t whine to me about your school bus problem. On the other hand, if you wanted to put those buses to good use, take Dan Glaser’s suggestion, and create a rural SoHum bus system for everybody.
I’d sure appreciate a bus that would pick me up at the county road and drop me off in Redway or Myers Flat. I wouldn’t even complain about all the fucking rugrats on board. Wouldn’t that be progressive, environmental and cool? A rural bus system that anyone could ride would go a long way to making SoHum into the kind of hip, forward thinking and conscious community that we are so fond of pretending to be.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could catch a bus in Whitethorn, or Alder Point, or Ettersburg, or Blocksburg, that would drop you in Redway? Think of what it would mean for our carbon footprint, as a community. Think of how much better life in SoHum would be.
Think of how much easier a rural bus system would make life for a lot of the older people who live in the hills but no longer see well enough to drive safely, or for you, when your truck breaks down, or your kids want to visit friends across the watershed, or when gas prices go through the roof, or when you can no longer afford to cruise all over the countryside in your F350.
It would certainly increase the ridership on the current county bus system. People who took the bus in from the hills would use the local bus to go between Redway and G,ville, and could take the inter-city bus all the way up to Eureka. The rural bus system would really make public transportation viable in SoHum. If I have to drive my truck into Redway, there’s no way I’m taking the bus to Garberville. And, if it means I have to leave my truck, unattended, in Redway all day, I’m sure not taking the bus to Eureka. But, if I could catch a bus into Redway, I’d use them a lot.
So, lets prove that public schools haven’t completely lobotomized us as a community, and do something truly progressive and intelligent for a change. Lets turn this crisis into an opportunity to do something that actually serves the community’s needs and makes a real step forward towards reigning in our carbon footprint and moving towards a sustainable future.