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Overcrowded Buses Raise Safety Concerns, Law Prohibits Standing in Aisles

HERNANDO – Earlier this year RNRF broke the news of a cockroach infestation aboard Hernando County school buses. After receiving photographs of the nasty creatures hiding in cracks and crevices, the transportation department finally set aside its ineffective organic pesticide treatments and tented the entire fleet. So far there haven’t been any new complaints, at least not to RNRF.  

The bugs may be gone but just one week into the 2016-17 school year parents are already complaining about issues aboard County Buses.   
According to Kristi Dubois, her daughter who is a 10th grader at Nature Coast Technical High School travels by bus to and from her home inside the Trillium Subdivision. Dubois says her daughter and several other students are forced to stand in the aisles due to overcrowding. Dubois believes this is a safety issue and attempts to resolve the problem has gone unanswered by school officials.
According to Florida Statute, the routing and scheduling of school buses must be planned to eliminate the necessity for students to stand while a school bus is in motion. When circumstances of an emergency nature, as defined by written district school board policy, temporarily require transporting students on school buses in excess of the rated seating capacity. It goes on to say that each districts school board is responsible for prompt relief of the emergency condition by providing additional equipment, bus rerouting, bus rescheduling.
Other parents have voiced concerns over scheduling issues and broken air conditioning aboard busses.
We attempted to contact Bill Spencer, supervisor of the transportation department but he has not returned our calls.
School District Spokesperson Karen Jordan says It is against School Board policy to have students standing in the aisles while the bus is motion. The Transportation team works diligently to alleviate overcrowding on busses as quickly as is feasible. If a bus is overloaded, there are steps taken to dispatch a utility driver to that route to reduce the number of riders.” Jordan goes on to say “During the first days of school, we do ask for patience as the routes and ridership reach steady levels and timely runs.”
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  • How about you all just home school your brats instead. Then there won’t be an issue.

    Sunday, 21 August 2016, 7:40 pm
    • PROBLEM SOLVER…..YOU ARE NOT!!! Every child is entitled to a public education and I don’t know what makes you say that are brats! You have some nerve!!! Obviously one that does not ride the school buses or I should say, sit and stand in the aisles of the buses when there is no room to sit down.

      Thursday, 14 December 2017, 7:58 am
  • Yes Tom, the story is OVER. False accusations by a student. Ms. Jordan stating that it is against school board policy to have children standing is an answer to your question. No drama here, just passionate about my job and hate half-assed biased story ‘telling’. The driver of that route has spoken… Casey has stated her bus has never been over. Whomever reported this to you is wrong. The first few days of school are always hectic and chaotic. Hernando County has the BEST bunch of bus drivers who are diligent in their duties and follow the school board policy as it is written. Enjoy your week everyone! Just think, there is only 174 more days of school!

    Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 8:19 pm
  • As the bus driver for trillium NCT high school I would like to inform this mother that the children are not standin, I won’t allow anyone to stand on the bus. Also this bus is only for trillium and has not been over the limit one day of school. I count them everyday. So she needs to talk to her daughter and friends they are making this up. They just want another bus.

    Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 7:23 pm
  • I read the “Angel” reply and it was not meant in a derogatory way. Unless, like Mr. Lemons, you ate twisting words into your own beliefs. I have always said that all children ARE angels. So please do not use my words against me when you are clueless. Enjoy your day!

    Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 4:00 pm
  • @Donna give it up, re read your first post about little angels, mommy’s etc. Tryin to cover your tracks now doesn’t get it for me. Idk, have no children on buses, feel for parents and children who do. Good day= Done with this

    Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 2:10 pm
  • Unfortunately for you it is not. The children I have are wonderful and in talking to their parents I know any trouble that may arise will be met with like minds on getting it handled properly. I do not write up my kids, I talk to them and then the parents and I also give my home phone for any problems they may hear of or to address any of their concerns.

    Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 10:51 am
  • ATTENTION PARENTS if your child has a cell phone at hand then have them GET THE PROOF with VIDEO OR PIC. I know mine will! If the driver writes them up for using their phone to capture proof of the driver’s wrong doing GOOD cause at least there WILL be proof and i bet that write up will disappear. Thank god my child’s bus driver isn’t named Donna.

    Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 3:29 am
  • Yellow Bus Lives Matter – I do adore the children on my bus and am even driving children of the children I drove for. I do not like assumptions or innuendos like Tim Lemon’s report. I definitely do not do this job for the pay, but I do love the children who are in my care and make sure they are safe and seated. And seeing as I drive about to bus lanes back from any vehicle it is doubtful I was the bus that slammed on the brakes. And seeing as I drive about to bus lanes back from any vehicle it is doubtful I was the bus that slammed on the brakes. I am sorry another driver was that close to you. It is not easy reading the route report, watching the children, making sure we stop at all the stops, having the children remain seated and fairly quiet, making sure all the children get to their appropriate parents, try to run the bus in a timely manner and answer all questions parents have.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 8:04 pm
  • Tom….why so sensitive? I was only making an observation of how you questioned other contributors if they read the article. I do not see in your article anywhere that the county school system issued a statement acknowledging students were standing. If it does please correct me and point me in the right direct.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 7:40 pm
  • Donna doesn’t sound like she cares much for the “angels” on the bus nor their “mommy’s. Don’t think I would want my child on her bus BTW are YoU the big yellow bus driver that was within a half an inch of our bumper the other day and had to slam on your brakes to keep from hitting us?? No I wouldn’t want the job, but sounds like you are doing it for the poorly paid ( not my words) money. Idk. Just remember these are someone’s angels no matter what you think of the children. Or their mothers. Remember, you can catch more bees with honey than vinegar. Need I say more. Oh we were NOT going too slow, it was at a RED Light which we do stop at.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 6:39 pm
  • If some of you idiots would get frickin jobs, pay taxes, etc, the county could do more. But instead you da’s piss and groan about kids having to stand to get their butts to school while you people lay on your butts and draw unemployment, or welfare. It takes a village to raise a child, not the few but the many. Sick of complaints. Driving a bus doesn’t pay much, but it could pay the bills and has great benefits. Shut the hell up and contribute to the solution, quit whining and bitching about the problems! Geez.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 6:33 pm
    • Personally, I don’t care if the bus drivers make FIFTY CENTS an hour….they still have a job to do and a handbook that tells them what to do. Also, it is not only parents who “lay on their butts”…what about the Family who has one vehicle and one vehicle only and the Dad has to leave early in the morning….how does the Mom get the kids to school? I think if this story reaches the proper level, something will be done…..ALTHOUGH, two years ago my nieces and nephews rode the school buses and the same situation existed then, so maybe there is no cure in sight.

      Thursday, 14 December 2017, 8:04 am
  • Tom..failure to deny something does not constitute acknowledgement something is or has happened. A statement was made that quotes bus policy. Parents need to relax and let the school year get going. If the problem exists 3 – 4 weeks from now then address the issue. I would love to know where all these complaining people work so I can visit their place of employment and complain about every move they make.
    I guess another solution would be to refuse students on the bus once capacity is reached. Go deliver the full bus to the school and come back and pick up the remaining kids. But this to would would lead to complaints because some kids would wait longer than other kids. If the seat is designed for 3 students per seat then make sure 3 students are in each seat.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 6:24 pm
      • Tom, I do have to say this about your reporting… put the story out there but, until you have an adequate amount of proof, you let the story circulate and collect more facts. That’s the way a reporter is supposed to do their job. If anytime someone said one sentence on any situation, you would then be accused of “jumping to conclusions” which would not be beneficial at all. Keep up the great work!!! Our Community needs you!!!

        Thursday, 14 December 2017, 8:08 am
  • Personally, I’d rather drive the cockroaches around on one of those buses. They don’t talk back, and you can squish the whiny parents.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 6:05 pm
  • Thank you Mr. Lemon ! As a parent, I will continue to voice my concerns on the bus overcrowding. The overcrowding presents multiple safety issues that need to be addressed immediately.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 5:32 pm
  • Wow… Some people have the nerve. You know there are a ton of issues with Hernando county schools. They are worthless at fixing the issues. As far as people saying get up and drive your children there are a ton of parents who do and sit in the pick up lines for 1to 2 hours waiting to pick your children up. My children rode the bus in the past and there is so much that happens on these buses it’s ridiculous so many children and not enough eyes and you are kept unaware of the things happening until your child tells you. And some more than you think can not drive their children to school due to financial struggles or they have to be to work at a certain time. I for one drive 60 miles a day to bring my children back and forth to school some can’t afford that so before you go attacking parents why don’t you look at other possibilities as to why there not being driven. Just can’t believe how horrible others are to others this is why our country has gone to crap because everyone is rude and selfish.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 4:02 pm
  • Mr. Lemon’s I find it hard to believe the department says there is standing on a bus. I hear the radio and when a driver states that their bus is full another bus is sent to pick up the rest of the route. They may have admitted that the buses are crowded but it is doubtful they admitted that they allow buses to transport students standing.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 12:35 pm
      • You did not post the question you asked Ms. Jordan so we have no idea really what she was answering now do we? Did you plainly ask IF children were standing, or did you inquire as to what the policy was? Two sides to every story and yours is fishy.

        Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 5:53 pm
          • And Ms. Jordan answered elegantly, ” “It is against School Board policy to have students standing in the aisles while the bus is motion.” That translates to NO. You just chose to imply otherwise. That is not good reporting in my book. Word play goes with news correspondence I would guess…

            Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 7:33 pm
  • Complaining? Busing children to school is mandatory if it’s 2 miles or over their zoned school. As far as bus attendants for disabled students, the county school district receives extra money. So, why can’t they get it together? Be educated before judging parents on mandates we are bringing awareness too!

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 12:11 pm
  • Mr. Lemon’s, this is sad. I cannot believe for the life of me how you can believe that ‘children are standing’ while buses are moving! I know for a fact that drivers DO NOT drive while students are standing. I, myself, had a NCTHS student call their ‘mommy’ to state that she was standing along with others on the bus because there was no room to sit. Mind you this was a few years ago and when my tape was pulled that student was sitting in her seat with two other student’s. She was in a tizzy because the bus was crowded and the children were sitting three to a seat (as is permitted on the buses). Children and their parents need to think before accusing drivers of disobeying the rules, such as driving while students are not seated. This is something NOT permitted and why we have buses that stand by to pick up any route that becomes overloaded and assists in getting the children to school. Did another Facebook mommy from the group Fix Hernando Schools (they like to bash teachers and drivers repeatedly) alert you to this? If so it seems they are not as reliable as one would think. I thank god for my video camera on the bus which can prove that I am not doing, what a spoiled little child who does not want to follow the rules, wrong. Buses are late as this is the first of the year and within the first two weeks drivers are learning the kids names, trying to get back the registration forms that parent’s take forever to fill out and learn the route. Just like Sam has said, the compound is hiring so come join us in taking these wonderful angels to school if you, or anyone, thinks they can do a better job.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 11:51 am
      • As per your article, “School District Spokesperson Karen Jordan says “It is against School Board policy to have students standing in the aisles while the bus is motion. The Transportation team works diligently to alleviate overcrowding on busses as quickly as is feasible. If a bus is overloaded, there are steps taken to dispatch a utility driver to that route to reduce the number of riders.” Jordan goes on to say “During the first days of school, we do ask for patience as the routes and ridership reach steady levels and timely runs.” There is no where in your article that admits children are standing. Children are NOT standing as bus driver’s can lose their jobs, be cited by police and be liable if an accident were to occur. IF this was happening I am sure our lovely students in this county would already have it on YouTube. My bet is that a student is not happy sitting three to a seat.

        Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 5:46 pm
      • Correction Mr. Lemons – The only confirmation was that it is not permitted to have students stand while the bus is in motion. Our drivers do not permit standing and in this case, it is not necessary. Busses for this route are not overloaded. Regarding your charge that we do not permit access to video. We do. However, because video is defined as a student record, we release video only through subpoena to protect student privacy.

        Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 11:30 am
          • Seriously Mr. Lemons she stated clearly that it is against school board policy. You cannot ask someone to deny something they have not seen first hand. Nor should you twist their words and meaning to collaborate your story. I KNOW the driver of the Trillium Bus and she has an 83 passenger bus (Capacity). The first week of school she had 63 students riding and now she has approximately 58 that are taking the bus. How is that over crowded? This lady has been a bus driver for 35 years and would never move a bus while any student is standing.

            I am sure every parent is glad their child’s privacy is respected by needing legal action to obtain a video of their children on the bus. There is HIPPA for medical practices and privacy laws for children. So hopefully your remark regarding that was for the good and (since I read this article and saw what you made of it) you will not shed bad light on that.

            Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 5:50 pm
    • A school administration shrill. They have you on speed dial if someone complains about their lousy management?

      Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 4:56 pm
  • This goes up to the County Commissioners. .. For 5 years I have tried to resolve an issue with the buses. Transportation says talk to School Board who says talk to Commissioners who call and say that the problem is resolved, but nothing gets done. Yet we pay more taxes each year, remember the 1/2 increase in Hernando County ? Vote smart this year and throw out the bums!

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 10:59 am
    • The 1/2 cent school tax is for fixing up the schools within the district and providing classes such as music, art, and sports. Know your facts before you blast something that has positively impacted our children this year!!

      Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 4:00 am
  • Or how about over by Spring Hill Elementary school when school gets out and all these cars are parked in the turn lane. It is literally two miles long and people can’t get into their homes because people are parked waiting to go pick up their kids. I say that is a danger.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 9:56 am
  • I do not work for them anymore but this county has some serious issues to address on all levels to include poor substandard wages for drivers to start……….I have been a driver for over 20 yrs and all counties have issues…the best thing that could happen is to privatize the bus companies

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 9:17 am
  • Don’t like over crowded busses, take your children to school. Have to work, find someone to take them. Don’t like the drivers, go become the likeable driver. Oh wait that’s harder then complaining!

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 8:16 am
  • I love how we’re 4 days into the school year and people’s ever growing sense of entitlement continues to amaze. Obviously there are going to be glitches the first week or so. If you can’t comprehend that I feel bad for you. How about you become part of the solution rather than sit there and criticize everything? People complain when they got rid of courtesy busing (which would have only compacted the problem) now we’re complaining of overcrowding within the first week. Of course if we raised taxes to pay for more bus drivers that too would be a problem.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 8:05 am
  • how about parents who drive their kids farther away from home to avoid the 2 mile rule. if you can get up, drive them to school.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 7:20 am
  • Florida has always had an early start date. I can count numerous times in my life I started on my birthday (first week of August). They tested starting late one year then went back to the early start. This being because 2nd nine weeks testing (midterms) fell after Christmas break and forced students to study over the break instead of actually having a break. If you are from the north then yes you will think it’s unusual to start this early, but welcome to the south. I prefer the earlier date to be honest!

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 6:47 am
  • They won’t allow the kids to ride with the windows down. Things go out the window that shouldn’t, Yelling and screaming at people outside the bus, etc…that’s why there has to be a/c and heat on the buses. I know a kid that was written up just for putting the window down because of being to hot. SMH…..there is a lot that Hernando county school district needs to fix! From the bus issues to the food and nutrition dept, plus more!

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 1:47 am
  • Correction that’s not on tax payers, the government collects plenty of taxes, the leaders just spend it on everything but the educational systems needs.

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 1:17 am
  • Pasco has NO a/c on there busses I have decided for this reason to homeschool my children this county is a joke they pick up high schoolers from a side road but make elementary kid’s from 5 Yrs and up get picked up off Powell rd where there going over 60mph in the morning but yet my little one is expected to cross that main road there is no EXCUSE why they run this bussing system the way they do pasco has 2x the population and has no where near the problems superintendent will NOT do a thing to correct any of these problems there Wasting there breath

    Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 12:40 am
  • How about those who are complaining go and apply for jobs at the bus yard. They are in desperate need of drivers and attendants. They pay bare minimum but hey, that’s on the tax payers… If they had more help they wouldn’t be in this position. Until then be grateful that the district still provides transportation in the first place!

    Monday, 15 August 2016, 11:43 pm
  • Still want to know why school has started so early this year. We never get a clear, direct answer to this. Stop changing the start date and end date. Just pick one and leave it.

    Monday, 15 August 2016, 11:26 pm
  • We’re also having issues with no assistant on a bus route to Explorer, per I.E.P. must be on bus for disabled student. We keep calling and getting a run around. Get it together Hernando County School Board, our children deserve better.

    Monday, 15 August 2016, 9:55 pm
  • sounds crazy. i graduated springstead in the 90s. we had so much room we would unclip the seats and slide them across to lay down. I cant imagine the buses be like subway system trams now..

    Monday, 15 August 2016, 9:20 pm
  • Really? Complaints of no air conditioning. When I rode the bus as a kid we didn’t have air conditioning. You put the Windows down. What a generation of whimpy kids you have raised. No wonder our country is in the shape it is. Safety is one thing and you have to give it a few days to get a good count of kids on each bus and make adjustments. If you’re that worried about it take them to school yourself.

    Monday, 15 August 2016, 9:09 pm
    • Some drivers were not allowing the kids to put the windows down, which is what spurned the complaints. It’s not okay to leave them in the car with the windows up, but apparently some bus drivers thought it okay for them to ride around with no air, too. So, you’ll need to come up with a different reason for what you deem wimpy kids. These kids were exhausted and dehydrated, not wimpy.

      Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 2:22 pm
  • School Board meeting Tuesday, August 15 @ 7pm. District Office 919 N Broad St.

    Monday, 15 August 2016, 9:01 pm
    • Correction:
      August 16

      Monday, 15 August 2016, 9:03 pm

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