HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A Huntsville mother says her middle school-aged child is riding to school on an overcrowded bus. She says kids are hanging off the seats and sitting in the aisle. The parent believes the unsafe traveling condition promotes bullying. She called WHNT NEWS 19’s Venton Blandin to see if he could get the school system to give a place to sit to every student approved to ride a school bus.
WHNT NEWS 19 talked with the mom and took her concerns to Huntsville City Schools. The woman, who didn’t want to be identified on camera, told WHNT NEWS 19 some children on a bus routed for Williams Middle School are cruel. She says her child and others can’t get a seat on the bus, but do get a few choice words from others.
The parent may not have wanted her face shown on camera, but didn’t mind telling what her child goes through riding a school bus.
“It is ridiculously overcrowded and unsafe. I mean, they are hanging off the seats,” said the mom.
The middle school parent gave WHNT NEWS 19 three pictures snapped with a cell phone to prove it. She says the number of children riding bus #126 is not the only problem.
“There is bullying going on. It is out of control. The bus driver does not have control over the situation. It is part of his job,” added the mom.
The concerned mother has not witnessed anything on the bus. She has gotten her information from her child.
“My child says they board the bus, hear the bus driver saying hurry, everyone grab a seat and sit down. The kids panic and some sit on the floor,” added the mom.
The parent told WHNT NEWS 19 she’s made several visits to Durham Bus Services, but hears the same thing.
“We’re working on it. Ma’am, do you know how hard it is for a bus driver to control that many children? I think that’s an excuse. It is bull. What are we waiting for, an accident,” asked the mom.
WHNT NEWS 19 took action by going to Huntsville City Schools to get a response. The district’s spokesman told said re-zoning caused the overcrowding on school buses.
“You can do projections and can use last year’s numbers as a good comparative base. But, until you actually have people in seats, you don’t really know exactly how many people you’re going to have for ridership on particular routes,” said Keith Ward.
WHNT NEWS 19 told Ward the concerned mother wanted something done. WHNT NEWS 19 has results to report.
“We looked at what you brought us. Starting Monday, they will make adjustments to the route and have that corrected,” added Ward.
Ward told WHNT NEWS 19 footage from video cameras on bus #126 backed up the concerned mother’s story. WHNT NEWS 19 requested a copy of the video or an opportunity to watch the video. School officials declined the request.