CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A video sent to Queen City News shows a major safety issue on a Charlotte Mecklenburg School bus.
The video recorded by a CMS student shows standing-room only on a bus servicing South Mecklenburg High School. The video also shows some students sitting on the floor.
“It’s a safety issue,” Avonia Devaughn, a South Meck parent, said. “What if there was an accident or what if they had to slam on brakes?”
Devaughn’s daughter no longer rides the bus to school after her daughter sent the video back on Sept. 22.
Devaughn says she alerted the school about the problem but it was not addressed.
“They told me that it wasn’t a concern of the school and that I needed to call some other number,” Devaughn said. “I didn’t understand why I needed to be passed around from person to person and be told by multiple people, ‘We’ll get back to you,’ and no one gets back to me.”
CMS leaders have been dealing with overcrowded buses and a shortage of drivers. Some students say other factors contribute to the problem.
“I think that a lot of the kids that are on my bus are not supposed to be on my bus, and my bus driver doesn’t really check to see if this is really where they’re supposed to be or not and I think that plays a role,” said South Meck student Arrie Goines.
Queen City News sent the videos to CMS leaders. A spokeswoman sent a statement explaining the issue:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is aware of this issue on this particular bus. The incident occurred on one day and was addressed. The overcrowding of this bus is an isolated incident and not a typical practice.
The buses are designed to carry 48 students. Guidelines call for the drivers to call their area offices for assistance if there appears to be the potential for overcrowding. A safety memo was sent out to all bus drivers and safety staffers addressing the situation.Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
The spokeswoman did confirm leaders received a similar complaint from West Mecklenburg High. Leaders claim in both cases the drivers were new to the job and have since been trained about the proper protocol in that situation.
Some parents want to see the issue addressed permanently so all students have safe and reliable transportation to school.
“It’s important that kids have the transportation because it is available,” Devaughn said. “If that means paying people more or finding other ways to make it easy for parents to get their kids or kids to get home from school.”
CMS leaders say they sent out a safety memo to all drivers reminding them that all students must be seated safely when the bus is in motion. Transportation leaders continue to hire drivers as the district grows. If your child’s bus is overcrowded, CMS leaders want you to report the problem to the district’s Transportation department at 980-343-6715.