Bus Drivers Rejoice as BHSEC Students Are Banned From the M21

Darya Foroohar, ‘20

April Fools

The days of Bard students cramming on the M21 every morning are soon to be over, for just last week, the MTA board voted unanimously to prohibit BHSEC attendees from boarding the bus. The decision was met with thunderous applause by board members and will come into effect on April 1, 2019. Until then, all other M21 riders wait with scarcely hidden anticipation for the throngs of teenagers to be removed from their commute forever.

“There’s just too many [expletive] kids,” says Danielle Sanders, a mom of 6-month old Kayla and a frequent morning rider who is tired of having to stand with her baby in her arms as young Bard students take up seats “they don’t deserve.” Describing her worst experience on the bus, she recounted when “this kid with an enormous backpack knocked into me one day. I was fine, but my kid– not Kayla– flew out of my arms. Landed in some guy’s backpack. He walked off of the bus, and I couldn’t get to him because the throng of kids was too powerful. I was engulfed in a sea of teenage limbs, blood, and hormones. That was the last time I saw little Trisha. Or was it Sasha? I dunno, it was a few years ago.”

Other passengers have similar woes, noting the loudness of the bus when BHSEC kids ride it, how crazy the students are, and how they are promoting a “criminal lifestyle.” This last point was brought up by Greg Schwartz, who has ridden the M21 for 37 years. When asked to elaborate, he stated that “these kids have never experienced any hardship. If they took the time, put the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to walk the 0.7 miles to that school of theirs, then they would have some appreciation for their elders. Really builds character. Also, one time I think I saw a few of them kill a goat and throw it out the back door. And before I had my coffee, too.” Schwartz said that the announcement of the new regulation was the “first time I’ve felt something in years.” 

Sanders and Schwartz are only two of the many morning commuters who have harbored a grudge against BHSEC students for more than a decade, and as their complaints kept rolling in, the MTA board finally decided it was time to do something. The official statement (published on the MTA Twitter account) justified the rule change by noting that the walk to and from school would be good exercise for students, painting the banning as part of a healthy fitness program that BHSEC “is sorely in need of.” 

Drew Miller, BHSEC health teacher and coach of its cross-country and track teams, enthusiastically agreed with the MTA board’s reasoning, saying that “now maybe these kids will get in better shape for track. Who knows, we might even make states this year– heck, I can even plan workouts around this. Have the distance kids keep up with the bus to Broadway-Lafayette for their speed work. It’s all part of the process.”

However, BHSEC students were none too happy with the news. Cries filled the halls when the news finally reached the students who don’t have Twitter, and you couldn’t walk from the library to the computer lab without hearing someone or other rant about how much harder their life was going to be. Students worried about what they would do when it was raining, snowing, or when they were running late, but could find no solutions about what to do. There was talk of organizing a walkout to protest the change, but this dissipated after students realized that walking was exactly what the MTA wanted them to do. There is currently planning going on for a sit-in, but meanwhile Bard’s student body is having no trouble raising their voice about what they think is an extremely biased and unfair regulation meant to control the youth and their freedom of expression.

“I really do not understand the overreaction to this situation. Since when is performing a ritual chicken sacrifice on the M21 a big deal?” said Evan Farley (Y1) after he heard the news. And it is true, the chicken sacrifices only happen once a year, after the SATs. The majority of sacrifices involve freshmen. “They’re meant to weed out the weak,” said Ally Santa-Cruz (9th), elaborating on these monthly rituals. “I barely escaped with my life. Miles almost got thrown out the window one time, too. But he survived. And now we know we are strong. Surviving really made me feel like a part of the BHSEC community, so to take away the sacrificial deeds would be to destroy BHSEC’s vibrant culture.”

However, try as they might, Bard students won’t be getting on the M21 anytime soon. The new rule has also authorized bus drivers to carry elephant tranquilizers specifically for BHSEC kids, and the MTA board has strongly encouraged employees to “shoot first, look later.” Machine guns were originally going to be the weapon of choice, but they were tabled after concerns were raised that non-Bard students would be killed in any shootings of mistaken identity. Although the Bard ban has not been enacted yet, there have already been three cases of hospitalization due to a few overzealous bus drivers, and students have been warned not to board. “The bus driver shook his fist at me and said I was a ‘hooligan,’” lamented Elaine Au (Y1), who is very worried about the new restriction because she “doesn’t walk.” Treatment such as this has caused the overall number of MTA bus passengers to drastically drop in the past week. However, the few that remain praise the roominess and quiet of the buses. 

There is currently attempts from the MTA board to enact a Bard ban on the M14d as well as the M21. Updates on this can be found on the MTA Twitter account.