Busing Concerns To Be Addressed by Administration, Committee
School Administration is expected to meet with Durham School Services Tuesday morning to address concerns with the school buses. The Framingham School Committee is expected to tackle the subject at its meeting tonight at 7:30 at the high school.
On the first day of school, Heidi Masso drove and picked up her first grade son at McCarthy Elementary School. On the second day of school, her son was to take home bus #19. Instead, he got on bus #8 (as he did as a kindergartener) and was missing for almost an hour, said Masso.
The Framingham School Committee is also expected to address school busing concerns at its meeting tonight at 7:30 in room H100 at Framingham High School.
School Committee Chair Beverly Hugo, specifically addressing an incident last week in which a different first grader at McCarthy Elementary School was dropped off at the wrong bus stop across town but also addressing several complaints about school buses by parents, said in a statement "I speak for the entire Framingham School Committee when I say that we are concerned and deeply regretful that these series of unfortunate incidents have occurred as our school year has commenced."
Masso said last year, as a kindergarten student, her son took bus #19 to school but took bus #8 home. This year as a first grader, he is scheduled to take bus #19 to and from school.
"I admit there was some confusion, and that we didn't stress to our son, that his bus was #19 coming home from school," said Masso, on her son getting on the wrong bus.
Masso said a mother picking up her child at the last bus stop saw the first grader crying on the bus and knew her child was the last one off the bus normally. According to Masso, that mother offered to call the first grader's parents since the bus driver said he couldn't take the child with him, as he had another route to do. The bus driver let the child off the bus, with that mother.
Bus #8 when it completes the McCarthy Elementary afternoon route, then travels to Brophy Elementary School, and takes those students home from school.
Masso said when she realized her son was not on Bus #19, she called the school. She said the principal checked the school and said her son was not in school and not on the grounds.
Masso said it was then she started to panic. She called a friend to watch her other children while she drove to the school. She said when she arrived at school, the principal had already called the police and the bus company and was awaiting word to see if the first grade child was on a different bus.
According to Masso, the bus driver on bus #8 never called in to report the child was on his bus. She said school personnel told her other buses called in to report not having her son.
Masso said her son told her he realized he was on the wrong bus when he didn't recognize the route. According to Masso, the boy tried to tell the bus driver several times that he was on the wrong bus, but the driver never took any action.
Once the mother notified Masso she had her son, Masso said a police officer picked up the first grade child, to the delight of the child and brought him home.
Masso said she would have let the missing child incident go, but seeing the report of another missing child on Thursday, she said she wanted to make her incident public so that protocols in place are followed. She said she spoke to Hugo over the weekend.
Specifically, Masso is unhappy the bus driver never listened to her child, when say he was on the wrong bus. She is also unhappy that the driver never called in to say he had a child on the wrong bus, even when a call went out from the principal and dispatch of a missing child.
And, she said she is seriously concerned that the bus driver was willing to give her son to any parent, instead of taking the child back to McCarthy Elementary or on to Brophy Elementary, his next stop. Masso said she understood from the principal the bus driver, on Wednesday, Aug. 31, did not follow protocols.
Parents with issues and concerns about the buses are encouraged to e-mail the School Committee and or attend tonight's School Committee Meeting. The agenda does have a section for public comments.