Smoking buddies: Bus drivers and students share a smoke

November 29, 2011
After seeing the bus drivers smoke across the street on the first day of school, a rush of mixed feelings overwhelmed me. Anger, defeat, and acceptance were among the many feelings that wriggled inside my ribcage as I watched one driver huff, puff, and grin.


I was angry because although public school employees (PSE) have their rights to a break, smoking across the school portrays the place as a cheap and nauseating institution. Spanaway Lake is far from this, and I refuse to let the actions of others create a miserable reputation for the rest of us.


Last year, I wrote an article stating the importance of PSE and their involvement within the every day student's life. There was nothing left to feel but defeat after publishing my article because PSE had their rights, and there was no one in the building who had jurisdiction over them. Swallowing my pride and everything I have believed in so far was my final stage of acceptance. "Bite your tongue," I reluctantly told myself over and over again.


Recently, the flame of controversy has been rekindled. For the past few weeks, a number of teachers and students have reportedly seen bus drivers and students smoking together in the mornings. Even going as far as sharing cigarettes and lighters, bus drivers have become the official smoking buddies of a few Spanaway Lake students.


As public school employees, school bus drivers have written contracts that cannot be breached by outside parties. PSE are just as much responsible for a student's safety as teachers and adminstration. Smoking with students is not only openly condoning the act, but also physically putting the student in hazard with the consequences of smoking.


"It's very shocking because these bus drivers work in a field of education, regardless of whether they're administration or not. It does not just portray Spanaway Lake in a bad way, but the whole district as well. It's an ethics question at this point," said Senior Class President Amarachi Ejiawoko.


Of course, bus drivers can't take all the heat. Students are voluntarily smoking with the bus drivers as if they weren't figures of authority, but friends you can share a daily smoke with. Every day, a couple of students walk off campus and arrogantly stride across the street where they believe the school has no jurisdiction over them. Yet what some fail to understand is that underage smoking has repurcussions. If you're not afraid of the law trouble, then at least put into mind the health consequences you could face later on.





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