Crowded Buses Leave Kids Squatting, Sitting on Floor, Report Says
DEPTFORD — Some students in the Deptford Township school district have had their school year get off to a bumpy start as kids have been made to squat or sit on the floor of crowded buses, according to a report.
Students in the district, particularly those going to the Gloucester County Institute of Technology have complained to their parents about the conditions, and parents have vented their frustration to the district, according to NJ.com. Part of the problems for the district from this year come from a change in policy for the district.
In previous years the district paid a private bus company to take students to the Gloucester County Institute of Technology. It was decided year that the district could save money by using in-house buses to transport all the students. The district maintained to NJ.com that there was adequate room for all students, but some parents weren't so sure.
"My son came home from school and said 'Mom, kids are squatting on the bus,'" Jenelle Marshall told NJ.com about her son. "I asked if the kids were not moving over and he said 'No mom, she made sure there were three kids to each seat, and she made sure kids were not allowing other kids from sitting in areas, so some kids began squatting on the floor.'"
Deptford Board of Education president Susan David-Dryszczak told NJ.com that the board is looking into complaints from parents and "will take everything into consideration." Superintendent Arthur Dietz told the website that a transportation committee has been formed as well to address any current or future issues.
Deptford parents interested in joining the committee should email Randazzo.firstname.lastname@example.org.
School bus safety has been an important topic for districts across the state and at the State House. Last week a bus driver in Montgomery was fired after getting lost with a bus full of kindergartners. The driver did not speak English and got lost on the very first day of school, unable to find their way for more than an hour, according to parents.
Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed a law which requires all new school buses to be equipped with three-point lap and shoulder belts. Parents concerned about the safety of their district's buses can check the Motor Vehicle Commission's website.
The increased focus on school bus safety comes after a fatal school bus crash in May. The crash took the life of a Paramus fifth-grade student and a teacher after the driver missed their exit and crossed three lanes of traffic before being hit by a dump truck.