Montclair High School Bus Crash: Students Shaken

Many Montclair students are shaken by today’s bus crash that resulted in 10 students ending up in the hospital.

Andrew Marshall writes

i was on the bus that got crashed into from the silver bus. first of all, yes, this is the actual bus that crashed. It was a piece of junk from the start. At school there were 4 buses waiting. three yellow and one silver. what school bus is silver?? you could tell it was junk. i looked at it and said”thats the ghetto bus”. so as where driving down this very quiet road, normal bus ride and all of a sudden with no warning the bus behind us, ( the last bus in the convoy, we were third) rams into the back of us twice sending us to a quick stop and then we all turn around and see the bus behind us that lost its brakes swerve off into a tree. once it hit the tree it started to tip but never flipped. then smoke came out from the engine and students, the teacher and driver came out from all different exits like the windows and back door. police and etc did not arrive for about 20 minutes.

Jon Segal writes

I was on the bus that lost brakes and crashed. It was by far the scariest moment of my life. Such a horrible experience. I had my seatbelt on and was not injured but i witnessed the whole thing from start to finish and it was horrible. they must provide better busses

Baristanet heard from students throughout the day, along with Montclair High School, who also sent parents updates throughout the day. Students have also posted pictures of the crash on Facebook (pictured above).

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120 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps that is why a majority of the buses do not stop at stop signs…the brakes don’t work??? Maybe the driver is at fault!

    All I can tell you is that I am not moonlighting as a bus driver, so don’t blame me! I’d rather support my liver than to be on a bus with a bunch of smelly high school kids!

  2. apparently this particular bus was a heap of junk. Some heads need to roll. This shouldn’t be tolerated.

  3. It would be safer if the kids just didn’t go on field trips.

    Also, is this a picture of the actual bus involved in the incident, or just some random image grabbed of the interwebs?

  4. Not to diminish the seriousness of this event, glad no one was hurt, but can you just imagine the stories these kids will be telling?

  5. Yes, but what about the PSBCT factor? Post-school bus crash trauma is a serious affliction and it is formally recognized buy the American Bar Association. Does Montclair own and maintain their own buses our outsource the service to an independent supplier? Inquiring lawyers want to know. (I, too, am glad no one seems to be seriously hurt.)

  6. I can imagine a high school senior despairing over what to write about in his or her college application essay because his or her life has been blessedly free of strife, ordeal or trauma. And at that age, and under the prevailing expectations, it is hard to appreciate how lucky that makes them. They can be easily fixated on wanting something severe to make them stand out, as applicants and as people. Then this happens, and maybe a few of them are thinking “JACKPOT!”

  7. Jokes aside, waltermitty asks a relevant question that I guess was answered: this a pix of the actual bus.

    What a hunk of junk.

    And really, “the brakes went out”?

    Which heads will roll? My guess– NONE. No one will be held responsible.

  8. OOH! if that is indeed The Actual Bus, then I have some interesting tidbits about one of their related companies….involving a hit-and-run property damage issue…

    MM is absolutely right. There is no excuse for improper maintenance. Spontaneous mechanical failures Can happen, but when it’s something that is easily monitored, there is NO Excuse whatsoever.

    Hope the kids are alright….

  9. air brakes can instantantly go out without warning, which is why they should be checked and adjusted daily. sounds like poor maintenance.

  10. Waltermitty, I was just trying to think of ‘not stirred’ comment.

    Another reminder the role happenstance plays. One day here, another day…

    Lauraloonie, pass the stoli.

  11. I just got word that this bus is/was affectionally called “The Prison Bus.” Kids and staff alike are/were known to scream, “OH, NO WE GET THE PRISON BUS!!”

    Was this the Bullock School bus?

  12. Really, who is tasked with oversight of these buses? Someone at the BOE, the principal? It’s a quirk of fate this was not a tragedy. Whomever oversees this has proven themselves to be incapable, we can’t mess around with stuff like this. This person should go.

  13. According to the LEDGER story, the busses were chartered from the Eagle Rock company. I see those busses all over town, all of the time, so they apparently have a history in Montclair and environs. Also according to the story, the state inspects the busses every six months, and the drivers are required to do a pre-trip safety check each time they go out on a job.

    So if all of this is so, how can the school district or its representatives be faulted? It would seem that if anyone dropped the ball, it is the company or maybe the driver.

    But let’s suppose that the state cleared the bus, the driver did his inspection, and this still happened. Whose head should “roll”?

  14. “Whose head should ‘roll?'”

    Hopefully, we will know after a thorough investigation is conducted.

    Everyone got off lucky this time (no serious injury or death) but it could have been a lot worse.

  15. My car is inspected every few years by the state too cro. But if I don’t maintain my brakes then I’m at fault. And if I come to pick up your kids in a “heap” which even upon the most obvious visual basis is not maintained well and you let your kids climb in then you are partially to blame too.

  16. It looks like a “heap” now because it went into a tree. Did you see it prior to departure? My guess is that it looked like any other school bus.

    So if the brakes were maintained according to state or federal guidelines, and this still happened, whose head goes? If they weren’t maintained properly, then the answer is easy — the company is at fault. But if they were maintained, and still failed?

    Life in America! Especially in baristaville! The place where SOMEONE is always to blame and SOMEONE MUST PAY/BE FIRED/BOTH!

  17. Why don’t you just wait until after the investigation, Cro? None of us knows the whole story. Was the driver impaired in any way? Was the bus not properly inspected/maintained prior to its use? Someone IS to blame, we just don’t know who yet.

  18. (life in cro’s brain: no one at the BOE ever bares any responsibility for outcomes).

    Look, i really don’t care what federal and state guidelines were followed or not. Someone is tasked with student safety. They’ve failed (unless this is some freak accident, which is unlikely). The buck has to stop somewhere. Whomever’s task bus safety is should be fired so the next person to hold the job is all over the bus companies like his job depended on it.

  19. Managers are fired all the time for the screwups of underlings in their departments. In the non-sheltered working world its known as responsibility.

  20. (Life in ROC’s brain: the BOE “bares” (sic) responsibility for EVERYTHING that ever happened, anywhere, anytime)>

    MM, I think your comment is better directed to ROC et al. Waiting is exactly what I am counseling, rather than calling for “heads to roll” or people to be fired. The assumption that someone at BOE MUST be responsible, before anything else is known, is moronic.

  21. Im willing to wait for an investigation but the only circumstance in which a BOE head should not roll is a freak accident. Any issue of maintenance, even if solely due to the bus company should also result in the firing of whomever oversees bus safety at the schools.

  22. Interesting. “I don’t really care what federal and state guidelines were followed or not”.

    Translation: I don’t give a damn if all requirements were followed, all precautions taken, and all procedures adhered to. I hate the BOE, so its their fault and I want people fired.
    I also don’t want to wait and see if these procedures were followed. FIRE SOMEONE NOW!

  23. Not at all. Federal and state requirements don’t insure safety anymore than the township building inspector insures your renovation was done well. They’re minimum standards and oversight. There are millions of cars on the road with passing inspections stickers which are unsafe.

    Its the bus company’s job to do the proper maintenance and it’s the BOE’s job to only hire bus companies which do.

  24. I see. Whether the company maintained the vehicles properly or not, obtained state certification to operate school vehicles and provided it to the BOE as required or not, doesn’t matter. SOMEONE at the BOE is at fault.

    He/she should be out there in overalls, rolling on a dolly under each and every bus before each and every trip in order to be sure that the state-approved and certified company really did the right thing. Otherwise, they should be FIRED!

    Let’s fire the Driver Ed teacher too because he/she should have taught these kids to smell leaky brake fluid.

  25. If there were serious injuries. Both the bus company AND the BOE would be sued by the injured parties. Why? Because the oversight responsibility belongs to the BOE. Truly, I’m sorry to have to be the one who tells you how it works.

  26. Oh I know full well how it works, ROC. Odd that you would defend such a system.
    And there will, of course, be lawsuits. Of that you can be sure. This is America, after all.

  27. There have to be injuries before you can sue for them. Too early to tell, but hopefully we have dodged that bullet. But if someone is injured they should be compensated. Of course they should. And if the offered compensation is not sufficient then they should seek the aid of the courts.

    I don’t know where you got the notion I was against the civil tort system. I think it needs some reform, but the process is vital to a democracy if you ask me.

  28. And though I am not an attorney, I would welcome a case were I representing the BOE and it turned out that they had done everything properly, hired a company that either performed all maintenance properly or certified that it did so, and had all of the backup to prove it.
    I’d win that case, hand the hounds off to Eagle Rock Bus Company, and head out to my hose in the Hamptons.
    Truly, I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you how it REALLY works.

  29. There has to be injuries before you can sue? And I’M the one who doesn’t know how it works? Conan’s post above is only partially in jest.

  30. “This is America, after all.”

    Then, as your attorney, I advise you to sue everyone! It is not only the American way, it is the reason the Republicans have the money to buy back the House of Representatives! Sue the bus company, sue the bus driver, sue the BOE, sue the parents, sue the kids, sue the tree — who knows, some judge just might find the suit has merit — sue RoC, sue Cro — but you can’t sue me, ‘cuz I sued you first!

  31. I intend to sue all of the above, Conan (well, except for myself of course!).

    Several years ago, I collected one million dollars from McDonald’s when a cup of hot coffee spilled on my lap while I was driving, texting, and checking my GPS.

    Hot on the heels (or maybe the lap) of that judicial windfall, I took Dino’s Pizza to court after some tomato sauce from my meatball parm dripped onto my shirt, creating a permanent stain on said shirt which I then wore to an interview for a free-lance job I didn’t get. That shirt cost me the job. I sued for lost income. I didn’t win a lot of, ahem, “dough” but I do receive free garlic knots for life from Mister Dino.

    Even as we speak, I have Egan and Sons in my sights. I walked into a wall there a few weeks back that did not have the required yellow police tape warning of its proximity.

    See you in court.

  32. And those found guilty will have to ride the Prison Bus from the Holland tunnel back to Bloomfield with brakes only sometimes working.

  33. Just wondering what you men have in common so today’s assignment for Cro and RoC:

    List 5 positive and 5 negative factoids for the American public school system.

    @ Cro “I would welcome a case were I representing the BOE and it turned out that they had done everything properly, hired a company that either performed all maintenance properly or certified that it did so, and had all of the backup to prove it.”

    I used to think that way. In my past I’ve been an expert witness, in the area of Special Ed for a BOE. Negotiate and cave in is the MO for most boards and their lawyers. It’s just one more reason why taxes are so high.

  34. “I walked into a wall there a few weeks back that did not have the required yellow police tape warning of its proximity.”

    I can relate to that, croi — just hope you didn’t spill that 37th pint! I still like the idea of suing the tree, though. How is a tree going to afford a defense lawyer? Sounds like a slam dunk to me. Of course, when the tree can’t pay, we sue the forest, then the town the forest is in, etc., etc., ad infinitum. We do live in litigation nation!

  35. Dag, There is absolutely nothing wrong with the school system whatsoever. Everything falls within federal and state guidelines. How can you even ask such a question.

  36. As someone who apparently frequented a pub or two in your time, Conan, you may know this story.

    Quite a few years ago there was a saloon in the Village called Jimmy Day’s. It was a popular spot, and could get quite crowded with a mix of NYU types, locals, mobsters, and the odd adjunct prof type with a funny accent who would sometimes stop by for a club soda before hitting the PATH train.

    The jacks was in the basement, down a flight of steep stairs. I knew a guy who, after consuming 8 or 9 beers and a few shooters as well, headed off to have a piss. Not surprisingly, he tumbled down the stairs, broke several bones, and was out of work for months. He sued the bar, won a cash settlement said to be in the six figures, collected disability for the rest of his days from the city/state, and lived quite well from this monthly check added to his social security and his military retirement (he’d been in the Air Force for many years).

    Now, I know things are different in the old country nowadays, but when I was coming up an adventure like this would have earned you an honored place as the butt of local jokes, perhaps an embarrassing “mention” by the priest at Sunday’s sermon, and a richly deserved reputation for being an eejit.

    I like the old way better.

  37. Dag, one need look no further than ROC’s powers of “reason” to find a glaring example of what’s wrong with the American education system.

  38. i was on the bus that got crashed into from the silver bus. first of all, yes, this is the actual bus that crashed. It was a piece of junk from the start. At school there were 4 buses waiting. three yellow and one silver. what school bus is silver?? you could tell it was junk. i looked at it and said”thats the ghetto bus”. so as where driving down this very quiet road, normal bus ride and all of a sudden with no warning the bus behind us, ( the last bus in the convoy, we were third) rams into the back of us twice sending us to a quick stop and then we all turn around and see the bus behind us that lost its brakes swerve off into a tree. once it hit the tree it started to tip but never flipped. then smoke came out from the engine and students, the teacher and driver came out from all different exits like the windows and back door. police and etc did not arrive for about 20 minutes.

  39. To answer your question, Dag:

    On the plus side, I see the American model of education ALL students as a plus. I see the emphasis on creativity and group work as opposed to rote memorization as a plus. I see the access for all to higher education as a plus. I see the commitment to economic, racial, etc. diversity as a plus. And I see the large number of choices and option with regard to course offerings and experiences as a plus.

    On the other hand, I think that the lack of a national curriculum with a clearly delineated set of standards is a negative. I think that the school year is not long enough. I think that principals are not empowered to make personnel decisions they need to make. I think that tenure protections make it too costly and time-consuming to remove ineffective teachers, though I do support the concept of tenure. And I think that the use of local property taxes to fund education invariably leads to inequities.

  40. Not familiar with Jimmy Day’s, Croi but your story rings true. I watched a bizarre (true) story on TV the other night that centered around a guy working at McGraw Hill who got stuck in the elevator for something like two days because security was either not around or not watching their cameras. Guy sued (who knew?) and settled for $200K. And he wasn’t even physically injured. Not that I blame him, he did the right thing…

  41. Conan: I remember that story well. The WSJ did a whole piece on it. I remember thinking how freaked out I’d be…poor guy. And of course, most cell phones don’t work if you’re stuck in an elevator. I agree, he did the right thing. This is a case where a suit was not frivolous at all.

  42. Nicely done Cro. To the head of the class you go!

    But I disagree with a national curriculum. The educational needs of this nation are far too diverse and starting points differ so. Although the NCLB has had the effect of raising the standards for many kids I’m not sure that it’s as educationally sound, as some seem to think. I’m also a critic of the method of purchasing texts that vary from state to state. Most people don’t realize the impact that states like Texas and California have on the way texts are written. I fear National educational mandates. You have far more faith in the federal government than I.

  43. Nicely put, croi, you deserve an A on this assessment. However, for the A+, I would revise the bit about creativity versus rote memorization. Factual knowledge precedes skill. Might I quote my favorite cognitive psychologist, Daniel Willingham, to drive this point home: “The processes we hope to engender in our students–thinking critically and logically–are not possible without background knowledge.” Memorization is unfortunately getting a bad name these days. The real challenge to a teacher is how to promote the acquisition of factual knowledge while also finding the time for the much more interesting and engaging inquiry-based learning. Not enough time in the day, especially if the students aren’t doing any of the “rote memorization” at home. Depth over breadth can help.

    I would be very pissed if I was stuck in an elevator for two days.

  44. Mrs. Martta,

    This was on Nova the other night — the telephone in the elevator worked, he was connected to an answering service for the elevator company immediately, and was told help would be on the way. They never showed. I think he got trapped late on a Friday night after going outside for a cigarette; finally, someone saw him on the security camera Sunday afternoon and pried the doors open. Considering the whole thing was on the security camera tape, there was no way that case was ever making it to court.

  45. @tudlow I am not discounting memorization or saying that it does not have its place. I believe very strongly in the models offered up by Grant Wiggins, a backwards design concept. Baseline knowledge has to be present, and memorization can provide that at least in part. But in the long run, students need to know not only what we tell them is important to know. THEY need to think its important as well. In my view, only through Socratic questioning and similar approaches will this be truly assessed.

    @Dag I don’t have absolute faith in the federal government. But I do have more faith in them than in the Texas State School Board, for example. I would absolutely allow for differences in regions, etc. But I think that we should as a nation expect 10 years olds to know Y, and 15 years olds to know X, etc. etc. across the board. And no, I don’t think that that can be determined through a standardized test like those administered at present. For all of its faults (and there are some), I think that the French model of a national curriculum is one we could learn from. Not their system as a whole, of course, but this aspect of it.

  46. The elevator story reminds me of that dreadful Irish-American song, “Seven Old Ladies Stuck in the Lavatory”.

    To this day, that song makes me want to commit murder.

  47. I wonder if that elevator was inspected and fell within federal and state guidelines? I’ll bet it did! Obviously, since the building’s owners hire out elevator repair, they bear no responsibility for shoddy maintenance.

  48. That’s fine and dandy, croi, and I believe wholly in the Socratic questioning approach to classroom instruction, but the high-quality creativity we all want to see is not possible if there is no background knowledge to work with. I am very surprised at what most students don’t know and an enormous amount of time is (should) be devoted to addressing misconceptions, especially in the sciences. Hell, most Harvard grads don’t even know the reason we have seasons or where a tree gets its biomass from (it’s not water and soil) and these are things that are taught from the primary years. We’re doing something wrong. Many teachers are reticent to employ the hands-on, inquiry stuff because it’s very difficult, but certainly not impossible, to align with the standards. I agree that national standards are the way to go, but again, it should be depth over breadth and the US tries to cover a lot more than most countries.

  49. If the elevator was maintained as per state and local regs, then by definition it was not “shoddy”.

    But, as we’ve established, lawsuits may come anyway. And you’re all for that, and that’s great.

    How long do you want to continue beating the horse, ROC? I mean, you must have SOMETHING else to do. Maybe you should head down to Valley Road with your pitchfork and start howling for a head or two.

  50. In response to some of the messages on this. I was on the bus. I was in the crash. To clarify: From the beginning, my friend and I noticed that something was wrong with the bus. Every time we went up a hill, I could fill the gears grind and when the driver went to brake, they would be short, quick stops.
    We turned a corner onto a long hill somewhere in Blairsville, and my teacher said to the bus driver, “Um you’re going a little far to the left.” And the bus driver said, “I know, I know!” I was half asleep at this point in time and I started to wake up when this happened. What I clearly remember after that is the driver saying, “I can’t stop it! Oh My god! Crap crap!” Then, we hit the bus in front of us, and I was on the ground. I was in the first row, one seat behind the driver. I wasn’t aware I had a seatbelt, so that was my own fault. Then, I tried looking up but didn’t really know what was going on. It seemed that this wasn’t real. That this was some sort of roller coaster nightmare. We turned left and it felt that I totally lost my balance. Apparently, at this point we were only on two wheels. The next thing I knew was we hit the tree and there was smoke coming out of the front of the bus. This could have been so much worse and everyone on that bus is lucky to be alive.
    @croiagusanam You can’t just sue whoever you want to because someone does something wrong or makes you lose a job interview. That’s how life is. People make mistakes and you can’t hold everyone accountable for everything that goes on and happens to you. This isn’t mean to be taken personally.

    Thanks.

  51. ROC-

    The building may not bear responsibility for the maintenance of the elevator, but they certainly bore responsibility for not realizing this guy was in the elevator for 40 hours. He was on video. Where was the security guard hired by the building? Why did they not see him on the monitors for 40 hours?

  52. @hcohen the tomato sauce remark was tongue in cheek. But as a matter of practical fact, you most certainly CAN sue someone for just about anything. You may not win, but you can try.

    ROC, perhaps you can start a new argument with the firm of Gair, Gair, Conason, et al:

    “New York and New Jersey law favors the premises owner. .. An injured plaintiff must prove that the property owner or lessee either caused the defective or unsafe condition or they knew or should have known that there was a defective or unsafe condition on the property.”

  53. “…or they knew or should have known that there was a defective or unsafe condition on the property.”

    precisely.

  54. what’s the point of wasting money on something that minimal though? Just to win more? And then take it out of the pockets of people who have to work so hard everyday? In my opinion,lawsuits and such over minimal things like this just split communities more and people. I don’t see a point when you can reach an agreement without going to court.

  55. And again, how would they “know” of this condition if all maintenance was done to local and state and federal specifications and certified as such, and attested to as such, and all elevators received the OK?

    I guess landlord ROC would have just “sensed” something wrong.

  56. i’m not arguing for lawsuits here. If no one was injured there should not be lawsuits. I’m arguing for responsibility on the part of the BOE to maintain safe transportation. They failed and we should get someone more able.

  57. You have no idea if someone on the BOE failed, but you’re ready to render a verdict anyway.

    You really are a one trick pony par excellence.

    And yes Kay, that’s French.

  58. Honestly though the bus was clearly broken or about to break. It’s the job of the bus company to make sure their buses are safe to be driven. This one clearly wasn’t, and that’s enough for a lawsuit.

  59. Parents always sign permission forms before their children go on class trips. The form basically removes the school/district from any responsibility. The investigation will give the facts but I was also told by the kids that the driver made all the right decisions given the circumstances. She actually crossed the road to let the bus veer into a leveled area rather than going down a ditch on her side of the road.

  60. It wasn’t the bus driver that was at fault. It was the company because they own the bus. The driver doesn’t.

  61. Standards and assessment are different from curriculum. Curriculum is generally the courses. I’d go along with a basic skills national curriculum but beyond that I’d aim for wide differences that address local needs. Learning expectations and assessments also must be tailored to the individual learning styles and as a whole the current classroom is not even close to my dream. Inquiry or discovery learning may not always work Tud. That’s what many teachers fear.

    Socratic questioning is only one of the very many questioning types an instructor should employ. Tudlow if you haven’t come across this in your teacher Ed classes I’d ask for my money back. Check out Bloom’s Taxonomy of educational outcomes and the types of or levels of questions. Think about how to apply it to your instruction. I promise it will give you very important food for thought and make you a better teacher. Lecture # 4 is over.

    Tud How was Joan?

  62. Not to put too fine a point on it, Dag, but I’d argue that “curriculum” ought to be more than a simple list of courses. It ought to be a clear statement of what we want kids to learn — what’s good to know, what’s ESSENTIAL to know. Why is it essential? How does it connect to everything else that we learn?

    Lots of schools can show you wonderful lists of what they offer, but the kids in those classes may or may not know these connections. They may or may not know why these classes are important.

    Luckily, teachers like you and Tudlow have the strong support of the governor and the respect of the citizenry. Right here on baristanet you both can see the rousing support offered to members of your profession every day.

    I envy you!

  63. Hiya Dagney – oh yes, how could I NOT know of Bloom’s. I speak Bloomese fluently, thank you very much. I’m in secondary ed–my opinion thus far is that “Why?” and “How?” should be asked over and over again. Many (most?) students are not even asking why something is the way it is anymore like my 4 and 6 year-olds do. It’s interesting. I like when I see teachers start out with the basic knowledge/recall questions and then stretch the question to go even deeper with the whys and hows. It confuses the hell out of them, but it’s good, and it differentiates instruction.

    I also believe strongly in inquiry/project-based learning–it’s absolutely essential in science, but it’s hard to do, you get off track very easily/quickly and it can be difficult to know what the students are learning from the experience. I’m going to do it anyways, just don’t fire me if the end of course exam results published in the newspaper for all the “education consumers” to see aren’t as good as those of the teacher who stuck strictly to the standards/textbook. Ha.

    Did not go to Joan, something came up. Hope you had a hot date that night, though.

    And croi, aside from the pedestrian “teachers have summers off/short days, anyone can do it, those can’t do, teach, I pay your salary/do what I say” comments, I think most people on Bnet highly respect the teaching profession….am I wrong?

  64. All students should be refunded the transportation costs involved with the trip. The bus company clearly did not fulfill its end of the contract. Parents paid $80 for this trip.

  65. Well, screw ’em. But thanks for being a tireless defender, croi. You’re doing a fine job even if it’s like pissing in the wind.

  66. Well said, tud.

    I’ve never understood the need for folks to demonize other individuals or professions. I mean, of course I understand the why, just not the reasons for its longevity.

    Its not unique to America. Its everywhere. Things would be wonderful were it not for those overpaid SOBs who get what I don’t get.

    With teaching, I find it especially ironic that those who must deplore the “slide” that American kids show vis-a-vis other nationalities fail to see that teaching in those other countries is seen as a serious profession, not as something anyone can do. Some of this is of their own making though, don’t you think? I’ve been in conferences with awful teachers and I’ve thought to myself, “what if MY kid had this teacher?”. Sometimes, they did. That’s why I support a system wherein a principal, with proper protections for the employee, can pull the plug on those who aren’t willing or able to get the job done. Who needs superintendents? “Assistant superintendents”? Put the control in the building, overseen by an engaged BOE that is itself accountable to the public.

    In my professional life, I’d often have kids sent to me because they “exhibited disturbing behaviours”. Sometimes, they were antsy boys who could not sit still. A disturbing number were African-American or Hispanic. Others were very close to becoming Charlie Manson. The common thread was the inability of the system to accomodate them. I don’t pretend to have the answer, but these disaffected kids suck up beaucoup (that’s for you Kay) resources. If you want costs (read taxes) to go down, there has to be areal effort to engage these kids.

    Anyway, I’m off the soapbox and on my way to Bottle King.

  67. I adore and admire the “good” teachers (and yes, I know that is a subjective statement in itself and probably the wrong thing to say) and am not thrilled with the “bad” ones (yeah, yeah, I know!) I have a number of friends who are teachers, some of whom say things like, “only 185 days left to go!” or some such…on the first day of school. This doesn’t thrill me because I wonder – if you hate it so much that you count down to the last day of school, then maybe teaching isn’t for you. I can think back on my own school days and except for the 4th grade teacher who ended up chasing a kid around the room with a pointing stick, whacking him while he was under his desk, my grammar school years were great. Junior High, all great except one math teacher. High school, great except for ALL the math teachers. (not because I stink in math, but for reasons such as a crazy 9th grade teacher who beat on his desk with his pointing stick for emphasis and yelled at kids in the classroom; a student teacher from Bulgaria in geometry, who couldn’t even pronounce “hypotenuse” or “spherical”, while the teacher in charge sat in back and read the paper, so that was an entire semester wasted. But I digress.)

    Teachers these days are asked to do more and more, with less and less in the way of time or resources. The ones who do it well should be applauded and hugged repeatedly. (they know who they are!)

    The ones who ruin the image of the profession as a whole are those who are taken out of the classroom and moved to a made-up job because it’s too much time/effort/money to let them go. Or the ones who joke with their friends that “oh no, summer is over, back to 185 days of mayhem. woe is me.” (I and my 240 work days don’t really feel that sorry for them.) Or
    the ones who barely scrape by and whose students barely pass. Those are the ones who don’t earn the respect that the “good ones” deserve.

    Based on Tud’s and Dag’s comments, I would classify you as “good” ones. 🙂

    Hey! maybe you’ve already taught my kids! Which might explain why, so far in our Montclair school history, we have only had one “bad” one!

  68. WTG Tud … my date was warm but nice.

    I always recommend a teacher’s guide to creative questioning for primary literature. “Suppose the wolf were an Octopus?” Great fun and once you see the pattern to the questions it can be applied to most levels. Ya know “reading across the curriculum”.

    Croi Despite the grumps often found here I do think most folks respect teachers. They just want them to work cheap, have no summers off and clean toilets or check the oil in buses.

  69. Well maybe you’re right Dag.

    When I was growing up, teachers were seen as the creme de la creme (sorry Kay! Its sort of like Gomes and Morticia). There was great respect for the profession. Admittedly, most of my teachers were priests, brothers, or nuns. But even so, they were people who were seen to be in an honourable profession, and though they didn’t get paid much (or at all!), there was a general feeling that these were important people. This is the general feeling towards teachers in China, in India — all of the places that are supposedly kicking our ass.

    Kay, I’ve heard those comments as well. “This would be a great job, if it wasn’t for the kids!”. “Here, Doctor Croi, see what you can do with this piece of @@#$$”. About a 9 years old kid! So, to some extent, I understand the anger and frustration.

    More importantly, I have some Edith Piaf CDs and I cook a mean pot au feu. ROC refuses to try it, and quite frankly I’m afraid to offer it to him as he’ll sue me if the carrots are substandard (I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!!!)

    Mangez avec moi quel que fois.

  70. Good one, Dag! I’m going to hunt you down in your red hat and give you a high five one of these days.

    Thanks, Super Special K!

    And croi, I don’t usually like soapboxes, but your particular soapbox here is well-constructed and reinforced with steel. I’m still in the info gathering stage, but I’m interested/intrigued by a model with a principal with more power working with department supervisors to improve classroom instruction. Enjoy your booze.

  71. Well, I know of at least one group of people who should be fired: Every English teacher that gave Andrew Marshall a passing grade.

    That wall of all lower-case, poorly punctuated text should have been cleaned up by the baristas before being posted in the main body of an article.

  72. Are you honestly writing on this board referring to the way a kid, who was involved in the crash, is spelling? How are you going to treat this like it’s such a joke? This is an upset for the students at MHS and those involved in the crash. We’re trying to reach out to the community for support and this is how it responds? You’re putting your concerns in the wrong place.

    Oh I’m sorry. Let me check. Is this ^ all grammatically correct?

  73. Tudlow,

    Do you want know who the best two teachers I ever had were? The first was my Senior Performing Arts teacher who spent most of a semester drilling into our heads that going to any job interview and using the word “like” after every third word was a guaranteed way to stay unemployed.

    The other was my Lit 101 professor who would tear up papers in front of the entire class when they were submitted in the style Andrew uses above.

    Sometimes not taking the “gentle” approach gets better results.

  74. hcohen44,

    Actually, I was more upset that the baristas decided to quote him without putting it into a legible format.

    If it was just the comment in its original context of the comments section; I would have ignored it.

  75. Are you a teacher, GnM? Was Andrew looking to be assessed here? There’s a time and place for everything and this was neither the time or place (seriously, public humiliation on Baristanet?) for your arrogance, despite your assertion it was well-meaning. If you really wanted to help Mr. Marshall in his future endeavors, you should have contacted him offline. But maybe that really wasn’t your intention…

    And let me take this opportunity to say that I am relieved to hear that all the students are physically okay regardless of their proper use of capitalization.

  76. thank you tudlow. A community should be supportive in this time. Not fixing grammatical mistakes. Bad move buddy.

  77. Tudlow,

    To answer your question: No, I’m not a teacher. I’ve never had the capacity for teaching others how to do things that, by natural skill or training, I myself know how to do (one of the many reasons I respect the “good” teachers Kay refers to above).

    I’m sure Andrew wasn’t looking to be “assessed” here. Maybe if he sees that he is assessed even when not looking for it, he will make the conscious effort to put even minimal effort into everything he does (or at least come up with an anonymous screen name like so many of us do).

    That said, contacting him off-line sort of defeats the whole purpose of an anonymous handle, no?

    Regarding the (many) mistakes I make in my postings here on Baristanet: I never claimed to be perfect. But, I do make at least a cursory pass at making my posts legible.

    Lastly, regarding your comment of relief that everyone is ok: Thank you for the implied assumption that I would be making light of or petty about such a thing if there was even one serious injury instead of some kids getting shaken up in a car accident.

    (I might not have much class. But, at least I wear the fact on my sleeve instead of hiding it behind veil as thin as the one you threw up, there.)

  78. Tudlow I will admit that when I read the post in question I had a red pencil in my hand, thought of a pithy comment, passed but knew it would be brought up. Amazing that it’s taken this long for ed critics to comment. Clearly Cathar hasn’t come on board and ROC graciously ignored the writing style.

  79. You seem to act like you wish there were. Why are you even writing on this? Yes sure. Make an anonymous screen name just so you can be confronted in real life. Stop making comments like this. This isn’t what it’s for.

  80. So many comments on a school bus crash, imagine how many there’d be if anything actually happened. (oh and i’m glad too no one was hurt. thank god the children survived unharmed. the children, the children, doesn’t anyone care about the children)

  81. In regards to the bus crash I think that it’s unfortunate the kids who were in the bus were all from the small learning community CGI (Civics and Government Institute). They argue and debate over issues that don’t even apply to them everyday. Now that they have an issue that pertains to themselves, they are taking full advantage of it. I think the kids are taking the issue too far when they call it a “near death experience” or saying that they “are lucky to be alive.” This is not to say they didn’t go through a very shaking (or stirring) experience or that they shouldn’t be concerned about their safety, but when they start talking about life and death they are starting to over-exaggerate. The likelihood of someone dying from hitting a tree in a vehicle as massive as a school bus is probably quite small especially since they couldn’t have been going more than 25 mph. The bus was turning a corner which means it had to be going extremely slow when the brakes went. Also, although I feel that the kids are over-exaggerating, I’d like to restate that I am not saying they don’t have the right to be shaken by the experience.

  82. I feel that you don’t know the whole thing. As was mentioned earlier, the bus was on two wheels at one point. No, you don’t have a very likely chance of dying from hitting a tree, but you do if you roll in any other direction. And actually almost everything we debate about affects us in one way or another. Get your facts straight.

  83. I think the operative word in your post, DagT, is “graciously” and somebody seems to be lacking grace. (Is that thinly veiled enough for you, GnM?) I’m like thinking like WHATEV, like you know?

    And bebop, your post made me think of a point/counterpoint in The Onion. We Must Do Everything We Can for the Children vs. The Children Can Ram It.

  84. In addition to what hcohen said, we could have rolled down a cliff at 2 different points during the brake failure. The reason my classmates and I are calling it a “near-death experience” is because of all the possibilities of the situation being much much worse than it was. Maybe what actually happened may not seem like such a big deal, but when we think about how close we were to being in serious trouble it gets scary.

  85. Oh and not only that, but we were moving very quickly down a steep hill. The corner we went around slowed us down a bit but then we just picked up more speed as the hill went on.

  86. Even if the bus had tipped over it had already hit the tree which means it wasn’t moving anymore and so maybe there would be a few more minor injuries but it’s still in no way life threatening. Secondly, you are correcting such little details because overall I am right, the kids are making the situation much bigger than it has to be. Surviving a fire is a real near death experience. You don’t see people then go home and change their Facebook status to “good thing I survived that fire.” If it was that traumatizing, kids wouldn’t be advertising it the second they got home.

  87. You seem to not realize that the tree was that last part. Read the first comment I wrote. It shows the whole accident. And it was going to tip over way before we hit the tree. After we hit the other bus, we turned left and that’s where we were on only two wheels. Then the bus regained balance and then we drove into the tree.

  88. For one, i’m becoming tired of people basing their comments and beliefs of this stupid picture. I for one was actually on the bus and believe it wasn’t exactly a situation of us just whining. People were infact injured (10 were sent to the hospital). They were “minor” injuries but i don’t consider a broken wrist and leg, on a single person minor. We could of flipped once we hit the tree, killed others in the bus infront of us once we crashed into them, and the main reason deaths weren’t cause by the actual tree collision was the fact that the bus just happened to have the engine in the front rather in the back much like this model https://www.kitfoster.com/images/2006-8-30_BlueBirdRFWeb-Large.jpg

    If this was the bus we had the driver would most likely of died, we hit the tree at about 30 mph

    BTW, the breaks blew out and u could hear and smell it attempting to stop the wheels from actually spinning

  89. Hcohen: Read Andrew Marshalls post again, it clearly says that the bus hit the tree and then started to tip. Also in your own description of the accident you say that you were told the bus was on two wheels, not that you saw it yourself. I would trust Andrew Marshall more than you because he was watching from the other bus.

    Wrld: The main reason no one died was not because of the front of the bus. Yes it probably did prevent a descent amount of injury to the driver but as for the rest of the passengers, it most likely wouldn’t have made much of a difference. The main reason is probably because the bus didn’t hit the tree going fast enough to kill anyone.

    Also, had everyone been wearing a seatbelt there would have been little to no injuries. This is just a scary experience that a bunch of kids expected sympathy for and when people didn’t provide them with that sympathy, they started getting offended.

  90. I would just like to clarify the fact of the “near death experience.” The near death experience was not the crashing into the tree at a high speed with 45 kids on a bad bus, but rather how close we were so close to tipping over when we first lost brakes and went off the road. We were inches away from tipping over on top of an embankment on the side of the road which could have ended in a very bad way. The next instance was when we went to the left of the road instead of the right to avoid the danger on the right side. This was also an action by the driver to try to gain control. If we had gone to the right of the road, we would have fallen about 25-30 feet into a ravine with a stream.
    When having a near death experience, one remembers the incident with vivid detail, as many of us do. I have not stopped thinking about since it happened. The scariest parts of the experience are constantly replaying in my head. It’s important not to discredit the emotional toll that this had taken on us, even though there were no serious physical injuries.
    The truth is that who ever is saying people are over reacting is wrong. Forty-five people, including me, were a matter of inches away from tipping over and tumbling to what could have resulted in serious injuries or death.
    This bus was faulty from the start. I do not mean to put down the bus driver (her name is Angel). The whole way up to the camp, a number of us noticed the bus could barely get up hills like Eagle Rock and remember how we had witnessed faulty buses on the way to Camp Mason in the past. This bus was in no shape to make a mountainous journey with 45 kids.
    I also find it personally offensive that anyone could say the bus crashed for insurance collection. Angel did a marvelous job at ending the accident in as safe a way as possible. There were absolutely no other options for her considering the road took a sharp turn at the very bottom. After everyone was off safely, I noticed Angel began to cry and said that she had hated the bus in the first place. I feel bad for her because she now has to carry the experience of a crash with 45 kids with her for the rest of her life. There is no way that anyone can attack the driver for this incident. It was in fact, an accident.
    I would like to personally thank Angel for doing such a great job and saving all of our lives. It could have ended much worse and we are all glad that it did not. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us after this traumatic experience, we all really appreciate it.

  91. Also for your information, Hcohen was on the bus with me when it crashed and we were told after that people witnessed it on two wheels. We could also feel the bus was not the least bit steady

  92. Jon is correct. I thought i mentioned before that my balance was thrown off at which point apparently we were on two wheels. No one expected sympathy. No one asked for it, no one requested it. We simply gave our side of the story. We get offended when people like you act as if we want your sympathy. What I’d like to expect is a community reaching to talk to the younger generation about this. I don’t want your sympathy.

  93. I want to thank Andrew, Jon, hcohen44, wlrld08 and Mhsstudent for posting. This accident could have been much worse — and only those who experienced it know just how scary it was.

  94. @Jon Segal:
    Your empathy and express gratitude toward the driver is very thoughtful!

    @all the MHS posters: Thanks for the updates!

    @GNM: dude! a lot of the posts are probably written on smartphones — embrace new communication paradigms or get too old, too fast.

  95. jon and hcohen are correct about everything. Look at the photo of the bus. See how badly damaged the front of the bus is? Imagine there not being a front…that would have been the driver!! Now i remember it very clearly. once my bus, the bus that got crashed into stopped, i turned around ( i was sitting near the back) and saw the bus on two wheels as it swerved off the road and into the tree. once it hit the tree, it started to tip but then stopped. i remember someone screaming ” we need to go help them!!” with the emergency-back door jammed shut since it was rammed into, there was nothing we could do, but quickly everyone safely evacuated.

  96. This was a Seriously stressful day and i don’t think that it is appreciated that the one thing that you comment on is the fact that Andrew misspelled a few things. many of us are seriously lucky to be alive. (sorry i forgot to capitalize the the m on many)

  97. At (chilloutordont) the reason we started getting offended was because of the fact that people (mainly yourself) think that we are just an ignorant bunch of kids. seeing as we were there and you weren’t i think we kind of know what went on and why it happened just a tad better

  98. Steve, you a first timer here? In case you haven’t noticed any and everything posted are open to criticism, sarcasm, and jokism.

  99. Whew! Someone just revived me, after having passed out under my desk after Cro’s post at 4:41!

    I for one am glad to see that the students are sharing here, and think it’s a tad childish to admonish them for typos and grammatical issues. Give me a break.

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