According to Austin station KEYE, one Pflugerville Independent School District mother, Crystle Oakley, was alerted to the situation by her son, Ashtin, who showed her video and photos of students taking up every square inch of the school bus.
“Pretty much everyone’s sitting three to a seat and four to five kids sit on the floor every day,” Ashtin tells the outlet.
Oakley explained that children were not only in the bus’ aisle but also sitting directly in front of the emergency exit, making the nearly hour long ride extremely unsafe.
“They’re piling all of the students at the school onto one bus and if there was an accident, all of the kids would’ve been piled on top of each other,” she told KEYE. “There wasn’t an easy access way to get out of the bus if there was an emergency”
According to the mother, the situation had been going on for nearly a week when she decided to inform administrators at Pflugerville ISD. Soon thereafter, parents received an email from Durham School Services, the district’s transportation service provider, explaining an “unprecedented driver shortage.”
The notice obtained by KEYE went on to explain that drivers were forced to combine routes or even perform “shuttle-like runs,” which they allegedly had yet to do. The company also told the Austin outlet, “it is apparent that some of our buses have been overcrowded.”
Durham School Services provided the following statement to Yahoo Lifestyle:
“Every student on any one of our buses should have a designated seat. The manufacturer of the vehicle sets the capacity of the bus. If one is not available or provided, a passenger will not be able to ride on that given route. The safety of our students has been and will continue to remain our number one priority. If a driver deviates from this policy and protocol, he or she will be immediately disciplined per our progressive discipline policy.”
The transportation company didn’t disclose if any disciplinary action has been taken thus far, while administrators from Pflugerville ISD didn’t immediately reply to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
District administrators told KEYE that they’re communicating with Durham School Services to ensure that the necessary changes have been made. Still, parents like Oakley are telling their children to call 911 if they’re on an overcrowded or unsafe school bus.
“If they get pulled over, [the company’s] gonna have to be the ones that explain to the officers why there’s kids sitting in the middle of the school bus floor,” Oakley said.
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