Bradenton, Florida— Bus drivers are in charge of enforcing the rules, but when 16 year old Shelby Rayburn brought out a bottle to feed her crying seven month old son Gavin, she was told that was against the rules.
“[The driver] said no food or drinks on this bus,” recalls Rayburn who is a sophomore at Central High School’s special program for teen moms.
The bus driver took Shelby and her son back to school where they were told they’d have to find their own ride home. Her parents say the whole situation just doesn’t make sense.
“He was hungry he was screaming, he wanted to eat. And all she was doing was trying to feed him,” says Shelby’s mother Sherri Baker.
“It kinda hurt me because that’s my son and I need to please his needs. If he’s hungry, I need to feed him,” Rayburn said Wednesday afternoon after school.
Making matters worse, Shelby lives nearly an hour away from school in Myakka City, and depending on how many stops the bus makes that ride can sometimes take up to three hours.
“They’re instructed to feed and diaper the child before they get on the bus,” says Manatee County Schools spokeswoman Margi Nanney who added the bus driver did nothing wrong and was only following rules.
But Shelby feels rules intended for students shouldn’t necessarily apply to her seven month old son.
“I think they need to make an exception. They need to kinda bend the rules and let me feed him.”
Child safety experts say normally infants can go two to four hours without being fed. But Gavin has a medical condition that requires he be fed more often.
School administrators are trying to help making Shelby’s stop one of the first on her route home. As for now though, bottles are still not allowed on the bus.
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