The short bus to nowhere
As I read the story of a seven year old autistic boy in Springfield, Illinois who was assaulted on the bus (the special needs bus, no less!), I am reminded of the constant vigilance we must take to protect our children. It’s stories like these that reinforce the feeling that it will be a cold day in Arizona before I let C ride the bus. Thankfully, for the moment, he not only wants me to take him to school every day, but also wait on the playground until the bell rings and he goes inside.
I feel as though I’m protecting him from an invisible enemy that shows up at random and unexpected times. He could probably ride the bus for years without incident, but given that as I type I can still see the scars on my arm from a child who constantly harassed me on the bus as a kid, it’s just not a chance I’m willing to take. While C is capable of and often does speak up for himself, there’s an equal number of times when he inexplicably does not do so. When he suddenly burst into tears over Spring Break saying he wanted to move because a boy at school told C he wanted to kill him, I tried to impart the importance of reporting such incidents to someone, anyone, in real time instead of days or weeks later.
So am I overprotective? Absolutely. I’m the first to admit it. Yet these very special kids need more protection than most, and if we as parents don’t do it, who will?