Barnesville Parents Fear for Student Safety on Overcrowded School Buses
By Kelsey Kennedy, Producer/Digital Journalist - email
BARNESVILLE, Ohio -
Parents in Barnesville are concerned about how their kids are getting to and from school, saying school buses are overcrowded.
Parents told WTRF.com that the bus driver asked elementary aged students to get off the bus on Tuesday morning because there was no more room.
"He told them to get out and stand by the tree and he would be back in five or ten minutes after he dropped off the middle and high school students," said concerned parent, Kelli Cameron.
Cameron says her third grader came home on the second day of school and told her she had to stand because there was no room on the bus that morning.
Students we talked to say they have been asked to stand or sit as many as four to a seat on the school bus. This causes serious safety concerns for parents. Jennifer Sine would rather give her second grader a ride to school than put her on the bus.
"I don't want her standing up in the middle of an aisle," she say. "If they slam on the brakes, she'll get thrown and get hurt."
Parents say the overcrowding has become a problem since the district went back to school on August 20.
Superintendent Randy Lucas says he's not aware of a change in number of buses or routes, but says enrollment is up by about 100 students this year. He's working with the Director of Transportation to look at video from inside the buses and make adjustments.
"We could potentially just pick up the high school and middle school students first, and have the elementary students picked up five or ten minutes later after the middle and high school students are dropped off," he says. "I definitely think there are reasonable solutions, and it's not a huge problem to fix. We definitely need to investigate the problem and find out how bad it is."
Lucas says the bus driver had permission from his supervisor to leave students at their stop this morning. He says if there is a next time, parents will be made aware so they can wait with their children.