Parents upset over students kept waiting by bus

January 20, 2010 3:22:15 PM PST
Parents in the troubled North Forest school district are complaining about school buses being late to pick up their children. Parents told us that the bus was supposed to pick up their middle schoolers around 7:30am, but it's often late if it comes at all. So we sent an Eyewitness News crew there Wednesday morning to find out what was going on.

The problems started after Forest Brook Middle School came back from winter break, parents say.

"The buses are just not coming through. You have people come through and say they'll be back around to pick them up and it will be 8:30am, 9am and they still don't come through," said one parent.

Christopher Chatham was at the bus stop at Gleason and Kelburn on Wednesday morning with his 12-year-old stepdaughter.

"The bus is supposed to be here at 7:29 in the morning," said parent Chatham. "It's getting here between 8:00 and 8:30. A lot of times, the parents that can just take their kids to school."

He told us sometimes the kids miss breakfast and even their first classes because the bus is sometimes late.

"They told us the first week that the bus is broken down. They say it's a big priority, but a priority to me for kids is like yesterday," said Chatham.

Student Daisy Jackson said, "Especially when (the bus driver) comes late now, we miss our midterms. Then we have to probably stay late after school."

A North Forest ISD spokesperson told us over the phone that the bus came at 8:01am Wednesday morning and arrived at the school at 8:16am, in time for the start of school at 8:30am.

Our camera caught one bus going by the stop slowly. The regular bus, number 111 according to the parents, never came and some of the kids started walking. Another bus stopped right after 8am, but Chapman wouldn't let his daughter ride it, instead he gave her a ride to school.

"I believe that the first bus driver passed by here and called into the station to tell them to get a bus out here because you (ABC13) were all out here," said Chatham. "Why does it have to even get this far where you guys have to come out here to get a bus here?"

Our request for an interview with the transportation director or the superintendent were both denied. We did receive an email statement that said they are short on bus drivers and are having mechanical problems.