Perua Escolar Perigo


In Brazil, there are these mini buses that take kids to school and back home. (Update: as reader João Deiró pointed out in the comments, these buses are actually run by private companies. But is it too much to ask that the school, who hands out a list of these companies when you register your child, might take a little bit of responsibility in ensure the drivers are safe? Or at least tell the parents when someone reports the driving to be dangerous?) Since living in  my neighborhood, we local foreign mothers have witnessed:

  • bus windows made of plastic and duct tape.
  • nearly being hit while crossing the street as one blows through a red light (on multiple occasions)
  • children inside doing a variety of dangerous things, from hanging out the window to handstands

A mother of my child’s classmate wanted my daughter to go to her house after school and play with her daughter. I agreed, until she told me that her daughter rides home within the confines of a perua escolar. I told her I didn’t want my daughter riding in one of those, and she rebutted with the fact that the driver was a nice guy. I explained that, just the day before, one had grazed my skin as it flew past me, having ignored the street signal. I got a look that indicated she understood I was one of those uppity American moms. Needless to say, I took both my daughter and hers to their home in a cab.

Why is this a socially acceptable danger? I constantly see signs on the street instructing people to wear seat belts, which are even required for dogs traveling in cars. Why is the safety of students being compromised?

Finally, today, I got tired of it. I was walking to school to pick up my daughter and one was stopped in traffic. Inside, children were standing and jumping up and down. I stopped to stare and the driver noticed me watching. I raise my hand in a motion to mean, “What the f**k?” He quickly called to the children to tell them to sit down. I noted his license plate.

At school, I hunted down his death mobile and found it parked on the street in front of school, but empty. I asked one of the other perua escolar drivers about his whereabouts and was informed he was inside picking up more victims.

I marched into the school to report him.

I didn’t get very far. I went into the main office and the woman who received me sent me to the director, who was at lunch. She then brought me to another person, who was unfortunately having some kind of spell but refused to sit down…

I left my name, number and the driver’s license number of the perua. We will see if anything comes of it.

This entry was posted in Culture Conflicts, Daily Escapades, Foreigner Insights, Living in Sao Paulo, What the h*ll is that? and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Perua Escolar Perigo

  1. Erin Halm says:

    Most people here don´t use car seats or booster seats for their kids either, and I´ve often seen small children sitting in the front seat, all things which are against the law in other countries. Supposedly there is a car seat law, but if it does in fact exist, it isn´t enforced.

    • There is one, at least in Espirito Santo. We got stopped there and we were told that I needed a seatbelt in the back seat and so did our dog (which is how I knew about the dog law). That reminds me of the time myself and a common friend of ours watched a guy on a motorcycle nail it up a hill… with a child on the seat that couldn’t have been more than 6 years old clinging behind him.

  2. Ray says:

    Dear M, thank you, you are helping make São Paulo safer, the laws do exist, but are worthless if not enforced, and I believe is part of every citizen’s responsibility to make sure it happens!

    Thank you!!

  3. Saulo de Tarcio says:

    I’d be happy to call them personally
    Help in any way I can if you want you can leave me the school name and license plate. Or you can really make a stink about it and get ine of those shock reporters to do an expose on the case… Trust me you’ll be doing the right thing.

  4. Eric says:

    At a checkpoint on the Litoral Norte a couple of weeks ago, a policeman congratulated us for using a booster seat.

  5. Yeah, this makes me nervous too. In Rio, there are some good busing options, though I am sure they cost $$$$

  6. João Deiró says:

    In Rio, the “peruas” are usually an independent service, with no affiliations whatsoever to the schools itself.

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