Charleston, South Carolina – Just at the start of the new school year, parents face issues with the delays of the school buses in the Charleston County area the very first week.
According to the Kathryn Leibe, Charleston County parent, expects her fifth-grade daughter to arrive home from school at 4:12 p.m.
The school bus came as secluded on Wednesday, but her daughter was not in the bus at all. “Typically the first week of school, we already anticipate the buses are going to be late. Everybody’s kind of sorting out kinks,” Leibe said. “And it didn’t show up.”
Leibe was worried and immediately called the company that operates the transport, but he didn’t receive any response form them. However, she received an automated message from the school principal saying that there is delay in the buses. Her daughter goes to Oakland Elementary School and she came home more than an hour later at 5:25 p.m.
Leibe luckily was informed and she remain calm until her daughter came home. However, this was not the case with every parent as some were not notified about the bus delays and were left in fear.
One of those parents is a mother of one student at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School, said that her child was almost two hours late getting back from school.
According to her, she was not notified about the delays, she started panicking and she called 911 to inform the police.
“You think about some of these kids are four years old, you know. It’s their first time at school,” Liebe said. “And that’s just a little scary.”
The Charleston County School District are completely aware of the issue the parents face. They reminded them to remain calm since this happening almost every year at the start of the school year. What is different this year is the fact that the district faces driver shortages. Among other problems, district says that the traffic around the schools and new drivers getting used to the new traffic routes are also among the major reasons for the delays.
The First Student bus company said they understand the frustration families feel.
“The new school year is an adjustment for everyone, including students, parents, the district and First Student,” the company said. “In addition, we are having to double some routes to accommodate for drivers who have called off work for various reasons. While this can create delays, it enables us to provide service to as many students as possible.”
Meanwhile, the company is putting efforts in hiring new drivers in order to fill the gap they face right now. However, the delays are pretty big thing for the parents.
“From a work perspective, it can be very frustrating and nerve wracking, and then you’re rushing to work and it can be stressful for sure,” Leibe added.
CCSD and the bus group say they hope the delays will be resolved in the first few weeks of school, but Charleston County parents like Leibe are stuck having to wait.
“You’re putting your child’s life in their hands. So, it’s terrifying to worry about,” Leibe said. “You want to know they’re safe.”
For parents who want to stay updated on their child’s bus arrival time, administrators say there is an app that allows you to track where the bus is called First View.