Mandated Monitor Waste
Here’s the scene: Shortly after 7:00 a.m. on a semi-rural road that locals often use to avoid a mile or so of Middletown’s two main roads, the school bus pulls up to a modest split-level house, and the driver opens the double doors. A middle-school girl skips up the driveway and stops a few feet from the bus. She waits. She hooks her thumbs in her backpack straps. Motorists crane their necks to see what’s going on.
Finally, first one leg then another appear. An elderly woman in an reflective vest climbs backwards onto the street. With one arm still attached to the handrail, she leans a little out of the way, and the young girl bounds effortlessly up the stairs. The bus monitor bows her head, takes a deep breath, and begins the laborious climb back up to her seat.
Now, if the people of Middletown feel that the benefit of intergenerational cooperation is worth the expense of such morning-time chaperons, then I’m hardly in a position to object. However, we have, here, a living, breathing example that the arguments proffered for a state-level bus-monitor mandate are not actually the most significant motivations. The woman in question makes no pretense of inspecting the underside of the bus for suicidal children, and were a child about to enter into danger crossing the street, or something, she would likely prove physically unable to prevent the calamity. The bus driver and the horn would be more effective.
This, folks, is one small emblem culled from daily life explaining Rhode Island’s deterioration.