It wasn't easy. It caused many a gray hair. But knowing that I was ready to fight an important cause, made every single minute worth it.
It all started when the bus transportation route was published the week prior to the start of school. Our neighborhood bus stop was scheduled to pick up the kids at the entrance to our development. And I (along with all the neighbors) was none too pleased.
So I made my first call. To the Loudoun County Public School Transportation office. Where a lovely woman explained the bevy of reasons why the bus stop was located where it was, and why, under no circumstances, would a school bus be allowed to come into a development still under construction.
The first day of school was chaotic. While pushing Grady in his stroller, I walked the girls smack dab in the middle of the street to the bus stop with the neighbors. We weaved around the construction vehicles, the dumpsters, the mounds of dirt. With no sidewalks in sight, we waited in the middle of the street for the bus. We all complained.
It didn't take but one day to realize that I needed to start drafting my appeal letter to the Director of Transportation. To show him that our bus stop was inappropriately placed. To offer a perfectly acceptable alternative. I took pictures. I spoke with the neighbors. And everyone who had kids riding the bus in our neighborhood signed my letter ... that I HAND delivered two days later to both the Director and Supervisor of Transportation.
Of course, my letter was forwarded to an underling. To a person who took her time to review our appeal. And who ultimately didn't feel that our bus stop had as many issues as we did.
Not one to give in that easily, I pressed on. Challenging her denial and forcing her to look into another alternative as there was already a bus coming into our neighborhood.
Instead, she not only ended up denying our bus stop change, but additionally moved the special needs bus stop as well.
Now. I. Was. Mad. I gave it some thought, and later that night formulated an email that I quickly shot off to every single member of the Loudoun County School Board. Along with a damning video. And oodles of photos.
In less than an hour, I received two emails from School Board Members, one of whom forwarded on my email to fifteen or so more people, including the Superintendent's office. The other member walked me through the appeals process, gave me contact names at the Superintendent's office of people with whom I should meet, and helped me with the next steps should my next appeal hit roadblocks.
Thankfully I didn't need to take additional action because when I went to pick the girls up from bus stop the next day, who should be there to greet the parents, but the Director and Supervisor of the County Transportation Office. The original people with whom I hand delivered my appeal letter two weeks prior.
Crap managed to roll downhill ...
The two of them were surprised at what they saw. They talked with several parents. They walked our routes home. But more importantly, they showed up the next morning to watch the bus pick up. To see first hand what I wrote in my letter. To verify that I wasn't crying wolf.
That was last Tuesday.
Below is what my girls came home waving in their hands three days later.
Never underestimate the power of persuasion ... or Mrs. Perlman's VERY large mouth.
Next fight. Putting in a Stop Sign near our new bus stop. I'll keep you posted ...