Children

Throwing Children Out in the Cold Still OK, If You're the Government

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Bus Stop
My Fox DC

It's becoming harder and harder to be a parent that refuses to obsess over every minute risk your child might ever face if not monitored 24/7. Cops have threatened to arrest parents over letting their kids play outside. Sometimes you can't even let your kids walk home from the bus stop they get dropped off at. A poll conducted last year found most Americans in favor of criminalizing parents who harmlessly let their kids play outside.

But while government authorities, and some of the public, may want to criminalize parents who let their kids play outside, it doesn't mean there's an effort to increase accountability to the various government employees who have the opportunity to place children in danger.

Eight children in the Washington, D.C. area, one as young as four, were kicked off metro buses in freezing cold weather because those buses went "out of service" while the children were still on their way home. They were saved by a couple who saw them stranded across the street from their home. My Fox DC reports:

"They told me that the G8 bus driver kicked them off the bus and went out of service  twice," she said. "So they said they got on three buses. They said they got on the P6—they kicked them off. They got on the G8—they kicked them off. They got on another G8 and they kicked them off. They said they were going out of service, but I'm like you have little small children on your bus. You cannot do that."

D.C. Fire and EMS first sent engines and an ambulance to help the children—getting them warm before sending an ambulance bus that took the eight children to the hospital…

Metro says it is investigating the children's story and released a statement from Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel. It reads in part: "I can tell you unequivocally that this should not have happened. Our policy it that passengers are to be carried to the end of the route … (the) G8 does *not operate* when we are on a Moderate Snow Plan, as we are now and have been since about 8 a.m."

It sounds like Metro is obfuscating things. The two policies Stessel mentions are contradictory. If passengers are supposed to be carried to the end of the route, then those buses have to be allowed to operate when a "Moderate Snow Plan" goes into effect during the route. If the first policy overrides the second then the bus drivers did what the policy let them. The fact that it happened to the children on three buses the same morning suggests it wasn't done at the initiative of a particularly lazy bus driver, but according to procedure.

h/t Bruce

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  1. Eight children in the Washington, D.C. area, one as young as four, were kicked off metro buses in freezing cold weather because those buses went “out of service” while the children were still on their way home. They were saved by a couple who saw them stranded across the street from their home.

    And why has this couple not been charged with child abduction yet?

    1. That was my first thought. No good deed goes unpunished.

  2. D.C. Fire and EMS first sent engines and an ambulance to help the children — getting them warm before sending an ambulance bus that took the eight children to the hospital…

    Are you kidding me? How much did this grotesque overreaction cost?

    1. I don’t know if it is an overreaction. It sounds like the kids had hypothermia.

      1. I think he means sending fire engines. A fucking Civic would have worked just fine.

        1. The Civic was out of service too.

        2. Fire equipment is almost never used to fight fires because fires just don’t happen very often. Instead, they respond to things like traffic accidents and support medical calls for the majority of their usage.

          1. Which is a total waste of resources.

          2. This part of why cities like DC spend so much money every time someone calls an ambulance instead of a taxi for non-emergency transport, ambulances never responds without support from a truck or engine.

            1. Posting from my Kindle can be areal PITA. Lack of an edit button only adds to the pain.

              1. Pita? As in bread? That’s easy! Just make regular bread dough, then roll out balls into round pancakes. Toss them onto a hot sheet in a hot oven, then sit back and watch. In a matter of minutes they will look like pillows, and that’s when you take them out. Easy peasy!

                Oh, you meant pain in the ass? Never mind.

                1. Pita? As in bread?

                  *areal* pita. A pita the size of a airport or small subdivision.

                  1. Now you’re just piling on to my pain.

        3. It depends on the circumstances and local policy, but it’s fairly common to send an engine out along with an EMS unit. Especially if there’s any possibility of calling in a medevac unit. The medics concentrate on the patients, while the engine crew coordinates the landing, traffic, etc. It’s faster than waiting until the medics get there and ask for an engine to be dispatched separately.

          Why there would be more than one engine, though, I’m not sure.

    2. Full-time fire departments couldn’t justify their employment if they didn’t respond to every minor emergency. But they don’t get their paychecks when departments are manned by volunteers.

      1. You’d think they could at least buy a van instead of having to fuel up several engines.

        1. They’re not buying the fuel. What do they care? Besides, it’s fun to ride around in those things!

        2. I remember one time a while back I had started something on the stove, stepped out for a cigarette, then realized I locked myself out. Not wanting to set the apartment on fire, I called non-emergency services. They sent out an engine with a team in full gear, lights a blazing. One of the firemen pulled out a flexible credit card, and with a slip he unlocked the door. Boy was that embarrassing. I made sure to stash a key outside after that.

          1. Lucky. If it was a cop, he probably would have smashed the door in, shot your dog, and arrested you on trumped up charges.

            1. Honestly, I’m not so sure that they would have sent a cop. Cops can’t legally break into a residence without a warrant, while firemen can. Don’t know if cops can help you break in with your consent or not though.
              *shrug*

              1. Anyone can help you break in with your consent – its your house.

          2. I would instead have asked him to show me how he did it…

            1. It’s easy enough. Just google “how to open a locked door with a credit card.”

      2. Yeah, I’m pretty clueless about the inner workings of the fire service, but it seems like they’ve gone out of their way the past few years (decades?) to make their firefighters dual-qual’d EMTs. An impressive land grab for job security, but now just ensures that every little medical call requires a GD fire truck.

    3. Sue them back to the stone-age.

  3. Metro says it is investigating the children’s story and released a statement from Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel. It reads in part: “I can tell you unequivocally that this should not have happened. Our policy it that passengers are to be carried to the end of the route ? (the) G8 does *not operate* when we are on a Moderate Snow Plan, as we are now and have been since about 8 a.m.”

    Have I mentioned that I hate Stessel?

  4. Rules for thee, not for me.

  5. “Surely, comrades, surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones the DC Transit Company come back?”

    “I do.”

  6. I’d bet a lot of money that a host of usual suspects who would go apeshit if a private bus company did this won’t make a peep since it was the government.

    1. Yep. They’d be demanding that the government shut the company down and put the CEO in prison.

      1. They’d be demanding that the government shut the company down and put the CEO in prison.

        Not to mention needlessly. Ambulance chasers would suddenly find themselves at odds every time the ambulance they were chasing went past a bus stop.

        Impoverished hard-working single mothers would secretly hope that a bus driver would kick their kid off the bus in sub-freezing weather.

    2. Would a private bus company ever do this?

      1. Probably once, before getting their teeth kicked in by public outrage.

        1. Nah. Those are their customers. No private business that cares about its future would do that to its customers. Well, not unless it enjoys special protections, like a government granted monopoly.

      2. A driver might. But he’d be fired and face criminal charges. I don’t see either happening here.

    3. Definitely. Got to be at least 200-300 pages worth of new regulations, “for the children”.

  7. Sounds like an awesome policy that has what are effectively SCHOOL BUSSES respond to snow by kicking all the kids into the cold so the drivers can go home early.

    The administrators should all be fired.

    But we knew that.

  8. I waited over 45 minutes for a red line train in 15 degree weather before bailing and sucking up the drive and the cost of parking downtown. I thought my hate for the DC metro system could not grow. I was wrong.

  9. At least the Fox story doesn’t refer to the firefighters or ambulance crew as first responders.

  10. Never. Having. Kids.

    My family continually asks me when I’m going to start a family. I tell them when I can afford a hundred acres, a private school, and the capability to retain a fulltime lawyer for occasions such as the above story. So yeah, probably never having kids.

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