I have been driving a school bus for the last 11 months. It is the first job I have held since my back surgery in 2010.

It started out okay. I learned my route and was doing okay until one day last week, the first day back in fact, from the Christmas holidays. I had a smaller bus than usual. It got crowded. I reported that I had run out of space and didn’t pick up my last 3 stops. When the tape was reviewed, my bosses thought I could have gotten the last stops on. I reported that I had 71 kids on the bus. They say there were only 58. The capacity of the bus was 65. I don’t know if you’ve gotten a good look at some of the kids today, but, they can be quite large for their ages. Even if their count was correct, 58 is pushing it on a 65 passenger capacity bus.

After this incident, they took me off the route. They had been trying me on other routes. I was willing but it was stressing me out… a lot.

The kids are so terrible. Last week I carried Macedonia Middle School in the afternoon. They were loud, didn’t listen, and disrespectful. The first workday back this week I was at JK Elementary in the afternoon. I told one of the kids to be seated. He told me to, “eat his shit.” I wanted to hurt or beat the hell out of him. I didn’t say anything more to him. But I guess it bothered me overnight. The next morning I could not face the job or the kids any longer.

If I ever do put my hands on one of the kids I’ll go to jail, get sued, and lose what little I have in the way of retirement. It’s not much; maybe not even worth fighting for, but, at this point, I don’t want to lose it, or go to jail. All I knew to do was not go back.

I am in pain when I get home; back pain, migraines, emotional stress. I’m near physically sick when I have to go work in the mornings. I have felt nervous and tense for the past week. I can’t take anymore. This job is not for me.

If you have kids you should be teaching them how to behave on a school bus. You should be praying for those drivers who still have the nerve to get up every morning and face your kids and a system only interested in protecting the children but not the drivers who deal with them.

No, all the kids are not terrible. That’s another reason you should be praying; the good kids who also have to face the little maniacs who ruin it for everyone.

In the end for me, being a school bus driver is not worth the difficulties and stress that it puts you through. Since I started last year, I have seen at least 3 drivers and a few bus monitors quit. The turnover rate seems pretty high. And lately, more people are quitting than are being hired.