I spoke with our OSTA representative on Friday and he told me that he had spoken with the transportation company on Thursday and told them to arrange for an alternate driver by Tuesday afternoon. Since this is the Thanksgiving long weekend, that effectively means by the next time Alex is at school.
The transport company tried to bluff and say it wasn't possible. They also tried to convince the OSTA representative that the driver should be given another chance. These attempts are not leaving me with a great deal of confidence in the transport company, especially given that OSTA is the one who assigns the contracts to the different companies. I would think a little more cooperation would be a prudent effort.
However, the ultimatum is there. We will see if the company actually abides by it.
There's another troubling issue. The transportation company also told the OSTA representative that they had grave concerns about Alex's safety without the seatbelt restraint. They want to hold a meeting with me about using it. I've said I have no problem with the meeting but that my position continues to be that the restraint is not necessary.
The timing of this leaves me worried. Today is a stat holiday, which means that if the transport company wants to hold this meeting before a driver picks Alex up on Tuesday, it will have to be done on Tuesday as a last minute rushed thing.
I believe this sudden change of position is an attempt to save both the driver's job and their contract. If the driver's actions were justified but her methods of doing so weren't, then they can argue it was a protocol issue and not a serious ethical violation. If the driver is guilty of having put a child in restraints when that child should not have been restrained, then the company would lose their transportation contract.
I am wondering whether or not this meeting will happen at all. The request for the meeting might be an attempt to get their "position" on record, without the trouble of actually having to argue it. (Which would be indefensible.) I'm thinking that I will be putting two letters on record, regardless of whether or not there is a meeting. First, a record of the driver's actions, sent to OSTA, the transport company and the school. And second, a letter to point out the inconsistencies in the transport company's position and why Alex should not have been put in a restraint. I want both of those things on record, just in case we ever have to deal with this nonsense again.
This will be the transport company's last chance to handle things in a friendly manner with me. If they choose to be aggressive about the restraint or laggard about assigning a new driver, then I will no longer be able to work with them. I hope it doesn't come to that, as the next level will be very time-consuming and expensive, since I will have to argue that the entire company is unfit for transporting vulnerable children. As it is, I am already uneasy about the idea of letting this go, since I suspect I am not the only parent to have been faced with this difficulty. I'm lucky enough to have the energy and stubbornness not to have been overwhelmed in the face of their indifference. Not every parent has that luxury.