Thursday, March 03, 2011

Who the hell is driving the bus?

All in all, I'd say that school bus driver Ryan Pleune, 33, had a very eventful first day on his new job. It also became his last day on the job.

On Tuesday Pleune, who was once a high school science teacher, but is now--or, should I say, was, a call-in substitute bus driver, picked up some fifth graders after a field trip. He was supposed to take them directly back to school, but made a detour. He decided that it was important for the kids to see the demonstration going on outside the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City. The crowd was there to support Tim DeChristopher, who, in December 2008, made bids for oil leases from the Bureau of Land Management as part of a political statement on the environment, then told them he couldn't pay. He was on trial for placing bogus bids, a fraud against the U.S. government.

While that was going on inside, Pleune stopped the bus, had the kids stay inside, then he joined the demonstration.

Naturally, when the school district found out, what was his first call-out as a sub bus driver because his last call-out.

Tim DeChristopher, who made the bogus bids for political reasons, to protest drilling in wilderness areas of Utah, was found guilty today, and faces several years in federal prison. I hope the people who were supporting him outside the courthouse will be supporting him when he gets out of the joint. Waving signs in protest is one thing, but doing something illegal--an act of civil disobedience--is usually a whole other thing that may or may not get you incarcerated. I stay away from prisons and jails, and I think anyone who risks prison for a political point may be brave, but also must be prepared to face the consequences. When you're behind bars the rest of the cons don't care if you want to help the environment.

Good luck to Tim on that.

Daryl Hannah was in town to support him. I don't remember the last time Ms. Hannah was in a movie, but she was decked out like a movie star, which is what the TV news headline called her, "Movie star attends rally for DeChristopher." She wore a hat and sunglasses. Who'll ever forget the Splash she made--yuk yuk--in her big movie, where she played a mermaid with whom Tom Hanks falls in love.

What struck me especially strange about the story of the detoured school bus driver is that the parents of the misdirected students didn't especially care. Denece Vincent, who is PTA president of the elementary school, said most parents who heard of the incident thought it was "no big deal," but they understand the need to enforce district policies when it comes to transporting students. The district definitely forbids anything unauthorized concerning students. Those parents sound a bit mellow to me, and maybe they're lucky the school district is watching out for their kids.

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