Our babysitter called me at work on Friday afternoon (and yes, I panic EVERY time I see my home number light up on my office phone). Leo came off the bus crying and very upset and yes, what every mom just loves to hear: bleeding.
His bus aid explained that Leo had hit the side of his head on the bus.
Exhibit A (taken the day after the incident). It actually looked even worse on day three.
My first question (I had a lot) was, how fast was that little bus going? Was he strapped in? Tightly? Of course this happened on a Friday afternoon so there was no one for me to call. All I could do was watch Leo's face grow more purple as the weekend progressed. Monday morning, you can be sure I emailed Leo's (wonderful and very conscientious) teacher to give her some background on the shiner. I knew Leo would give her an earful but I wanted to make sure she was clear on how it supposedly happened.
She returned my email immediately, told me she took a picture of Leo's eye and marched him to the principal's office to show her. Several emails were fired off to the superintendent and the transportation and special education department. (I had already emailed them all). They weren't messing around and I loved it.
Well. I was pleasantly surprised to hear from the director of special education almost immediately. Evidently they take black eyes from school buses pretty seriously. And by early afternoon I received the following email from her:
I contacted [the director of Transportation] when I received your email. She immediately reviewed the bus video from Friday afternoon and sent a copy to me. [The superintendent] and I carefully reviewed it as well. It showed Leo sleeping soundly on the bus, with his seat belt on. However, as Leo slept, his head moved back and forth which caused him to involuntarily bump it on the side of the bus. The bus monitor immediately rose and attended to Leo. Also, it did not appear that the bus was traveling above the speed limit.
Side note: My baby falls asleep on the bus! Poor guy.
I was pretty surprised to learn that school buses have video cameras. I didn't know this was standard though I guess I should, after watching enough episodes of "20/20" (who didn't see that grandma getting beat up, repeatedly, a few years ago?). I was relieved to find out about the cameras. Leo can definitely verbalize a lot more than he used to and there is no doubt in my mind that if someone hurt him or if something wasn't right, he would tell us. But still, sending your kid out in the world, any kid, let alone a kid who is difficult to understand and perhaps, a little extra trusting, well, it's a scary proposition. So I was mostly at peace with the original email, but I'd by lying if I said I was completely satisfied with the explanation. You can imagine my relief when I got this note, from Leo's (amazing) teacher:
[The principal] let me see the bus video (since I am such a skeptic lol). I am happy to say that it is true! Leo was asleep his head rolled to the left hit the window (no speed bump, no speeding) and I am really pleased at the bus aides reaction. She jumped right up and comforted Leo!! All is GOOD! Have a GREAT day!
Aside from Leo's eye (which looks so much better, already), all is good. And I am further heartened to learn that Leo's teacher isn't afraid to ask a few extra questions. It takes a village for sure, and if a few of those village members are skeptics to boot? All the better.