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 district’s 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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