Brooklyn grandmother claims animal school-bus names ‘insensitive’
NY Daily News: A Brooklyn grandma put an end to the monkey business at a local charter school. Sandra Conner, 64, was howling mad after learning the buses at her 10-year-old granddaughter’s Bedford-Stuyvesant school were identified by drawings of monkeys, elephants, jaguars and other animals.
The cartoon critters — used to help the students board the right bus since 2006 — struck Conner as insensitive. “When I saw that I was taken aback,” she said. “I said, ‘What is that? Why is there a picture of a monkey on her bus?’”
Leadership Preparatory school officials announced Wednesday that the animal system was now extinct. Each bus will instead receive a number, officials said.
The buses featured small drawings of each animal with the beast’s name written below. “It’s subliminal. It’s a negative reinforcement,” said Conner. “They’re not monkeys. They’re not elephants. Imagine your kid has a weight problem and then you put him on the ‘Elephants’ bus. How would you feel about that?”
While other parents and grandparents of students at the school were unconcerned about the bus names, a school spokeswoman explained the decision to switch to bus numbers.
“Leadership Prep Bed-Stuy has been using fun animal names for school buses since 2006 and no one ever complained,” said Barbara Martinez.
“However, we had a single instance of a family member complaining … We certainly would never want to offend anyone, so we are changing the bus names to numbers.”
Other parents said they felt the issue was blown out of proportion. “I think it’s making something out of nothing,” said Nicole Taylor, 29, whose daughter is in first grade. “It’s for the kids, not for the parents. It’s easier for the kids to remember which bus they get on.”
“My daughter takes the monkey bus,” Taylor said, laughing, “I guess the monkey one might be a little weird, but I honestly don’t care.”
Like Conner, Claudette Mentore, 71, also has a grandchild at Leadership Prep, but said she had no problem with the animal labels. “I don’t see anything wrong with that. Some of the children, they are small and it makes it easy for them to remember,” said Mentore, whose grandson is in kindergarten at the school.
Conner said she ripped the “Monkeys” sign off her granddaughter’s morning bus last week and did the same to the “Elephants” sign on her afternoon bus. Conner also said she had confronted both the bus drivers and the school about the signs.
She acknowledged that not everyone agreed with her mission, and said that some parents were angry when she ripped the sign off her granddaughter’s bus.
Seems like this one woman is hyper-sensitive to me. I bet the animal names did make it easy for children to remember their bus. The young ones probably didn’t think anything of it except to remember to look for a certain creature. Let’s hope Conner isn’t offended by a certain number!
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