As if we didn't have enough trouble with the busing situation in Juneau, now vandals have added a new problem. Someone felt the need to steal the stop sign off one of the Head Start buses. They also took the winter tire chains. Until these items can be replaced, bussing for the Riverbend Head Start preschool program was suspended this week.
Fortunately, they were able to borrow replacement pieces to so they can begin providing service again next week, but that is just a temporary solution until the replacement pieces arrive and can be installed. Just so we are clear, the vandals stole safety items off of this bus that are in place specifically for the safety of the young children that ride this bus every day.
Head Start is a comprehensive child development program that includes the parents, families and communities while emphasizing education, health, nutrition, overcoming disabilities, social services, parent involvement and staff development. Priority is given to low-income, pre-kindergarten aged children, but is also for children from single-parent families, children with disabilities and children with Native heritage.
The theft of these safety items is frustrating for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that these 3- to 5-year-old children (as well as their families, childcare providers and teachers) rely heavily on this bus to get to school safely each day. They also rely on this bus to take them back and forth to specially planned field trips several times per month.
The vandals didn't steal these items off of a bus for the Juneau School District, where it might be easier to juggle busses around. No, they chose to steal the safety items from a bus for the Head Start program. Each Head Start bus is dedicated to a particular school and routes. That means they can't just juggle the other busses to cover the routes and get these preschoolers to school each day.
I highly doubt that whomever vandalized this bus was thinking of these young, impressionable children when they stole the stop sign from the bus. I doubt they even stopped to consider the potential impact their actions would have on this entire community.