Posted September 12, 2012 | comments 3 Comments

Letter to the Editor: School bus situation inefficient


I would like to ask a question about the Shenandoah County Public School's transportation cut to save money and run the buses at full capacity for more efficiency. Is it worth the cost the schoolchildren have to pay?

If you load children like cattle, they are going to act like cattle. These buses are said to meet 1977 standards. Can't we bring this to 2012? Kids are larger now, have heavier book bags, bring instruments to school, etc. Tensions run high after being crammed on a bus for hour-long bus rides. This is a recipe for disaster. I hope it changes before children get hurt, not only from standing in the bus or having to hang in the isle due to lack of room on the seat, but also from children hurting each other.

I would love to see the school board work all day, then carry a heavy book bag and instrument and sit three to a seat for a full bus ride. I have heard more complaints and been unsatisfied with how the kids are transported to and from school this year than I've ever heard before. When I went to school there were two kids per seat, occasionally three, but room to move a kid around to other seats if needed. We were tight then when you had instruments, so I cannot imagine how it is now. Then the bus driver knew all of us and knew our stops because there wasn't as many to keep up with.

Does the driver need more kids to watch? The kids are being taken to wrong stops and dropped off. I think our bus drivers do the best they can with what they are given, but I also think they are getting frustrated and don't know how to change the situation.

I have heard parents, teachers, bus drivers and kids say this new money-savings plan isn't working. The school board needs to make cuts elsewhere and find a better way to keep the buses safe. I don't think this is fuel efficient or time efficient. So I urge change to this downhill spiraling situation.

Brandi Dysart, Mt. Jackson

3 Comments | Leave a comment

    I agree 100%. This year has been aweful and its only the second week of school. How many children have to be taken to the wrong stop before someone is seriously hurt? On another note, children are required in regular vehicles, to be in a child safety seats and seat belts. While these are not required on school buses I am sure it is NOT safe to tell a child that they may STAND in the isle due to not enough seats. If i let my child STAND in my van and then hit the breaks they will more than likely go thru the window..now lets imagine my van was even bigger and had MORE force behind it and hit the breaks..that is not a situation that i would want any parent to have to imagine. I agree with Brandi, Please do something before harm comes to any child. Perhaps the school board members should ask themselves if they would want their child standing on a moving vehicle or if they would be upset if their child was let off at a wrong location and what MAY happen to them if the wrong person happened to be passing by and saw a child looking scared, confused and alone. Sorry to rant, but i have 4 kids and if this happend to my child...momma bear would NOT be happy..

    This is not a new problem.....12 years ago when we moved into our new home we had two kids that would be riding the school bus. Just a week after school had started my girls were telling me that they are cramped and kids were riding standing up. A few years later when my third child started school and was riding the bus the situation was still the same. One day the bus driver had to leave her seat for some reason and went to the back of the bus, on her way back to the front of the bus she fell and broke her arm cause she was unable to maneuver through the isle, but she had no problem blaming my child that she was not all the way in her seat and had one of her legs in the isle. Considering she was the third one in that seat it was a little difficult to squeeze in any further. My child was around 8 or 9 at the time and she was literally "scolding" my child blaming her for her broken arm. My child was so upset for the longest time. The next thing was my youngest was left on the bus and when I called the school transportation office they didn't want to bother the bus driver so that they could turn around and bring her back to the house. I had called the transportation office several times after that wanting to know why the buses were so crowded and to find out what they are going to do about it. The transportation manager at the times response to me was "couldn't some of your kids get involved in an after school program or join a sport?" REALLY! So they were wanting me to fix their problem, that's what their hopes are is for us to fix it now. Well I fixed the problem rather quickly, my kids haven't road a school but in the past 9 years. I've taken them and picked them everyday since! But now I face a new problem; the traffic chaos at the Central Campus! Not to mention that W.W.R. is overcrowded severely. They tell me that fuel cost is to expensive for them to run more buses, okay well lets tell all the Sheriff Deputies to turn those cars off when they go in to stores or food establishments to eat. Send that saved fuel money to the School Bus Funds! Shenandoah County is a "cesspool" of problems that needs to be cleaned of it's board members and fined new members that want to help and are not just wanting to collect a paycheck or a title!

    Thank you all for your supportive comments! Since this has come out and I have spoken to many people about this, everyone I know has been supportive and encouraging of my mission to create change in the county. I believe if we all get together and go for this cause we can create the change we want with the buses.
    I would like everyone to visit my Facebook Page on this https://www.facebook.com/groups/Change4SCPST/
    Join the page and keep updated on what is going on.
    I also want everyone that can that wants to support this cause to go to the next School Board Meeting October 11th at 7pm and speak out on this or just be there in support of us that are going to speak. I plan on going to every meeting they have and say the same thing—we need change in the school bus situation
    Thank you again for your support!

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