Students Forced To Stand On School Bus, District Adds Extra Bus

CALUMET CITY, Ill. (CBS) — It’s against state law for kids to be standing, not sitting, on a school bus, but one south suburban parent says standing has been typical all year on her son’s bus.

After CBS 2 began looking into the matter, Calumet City School District 149 took steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports that home video showed when Dirksen Middle School 7th grader Dejion Garrett boarded his school bus Wednesday morning, it was standing room only.

Dejion said it’s been that way all year, with many students on the bus forced to stand because it’s so overcrowded.

Other students on the bus route agreed.

Jaylen Fielder said, “If you had the choice to either sit on the floor or sit on somebody’s lap, you would sit on the floor.”

Dejion’s mother, Latoya Garrett, said she was told in August a second bus would be added to the route, but nothing happened.

“My concern was my son’s safety, because he was standing in the aisleway and if an accident occurred, he would be seriously injured,” she said.

When CBS 2 contacted the School District 149, an official was adamant: there were no overcrowded buses at Dirksen Middle School.

Later, the district admitted the route Dejion rides was overcrowded. Finally, the district took action.

Student Luis Rodriguez said, “They split the whole bus up.” A second bus was added to the route.

District officials called it an oversight.

“I don’t believe that is an oversight. I believe that the overcrowding was apparent to them and no one had taken action to do anything to resolve it at that point, until now,” Latoya Garrett said.

An District 149 said they weren’t aware students were illegally riding the bus which made for the overcrowding, but parents fear the financially-strapped district was putting kids at risk, rather than paying up for another bus.

More from Derrick Blakley
  • Micheal Savage

    Poor little kids,I had to stand for four years on the 51st bus.

  • Vicky Kujawa

    When I was a id, we walked 75 miles in a hurricane to get to school……

    • JusDav

      we had to walk uphill in snowstorms… and it was uphill both ways!!!

  • alex

    why the heck are we still busing kids? The line seperating the haves and the you ain’t got nothing coming cause we said so’ wider than ever. WE NEED TO SEND OUR CHILDREN TO OUR LOCAL SCHOOLS and let them walk, it might help with childhood obesity as well as get money back into neighborhoods who desperatly need it. you never know, kids might actually learn more cause their not jammed into a bus. STUPID POLITICIANS AND sad but even stupider parents who don’t do anything as far as getting involved with their kids education.

    • Tom

      My kids live 11 miles from their school. If they had to walk Alex they would get to school just in time to see it end for the day. Not everyone lives 3-4 blocks away from their school so maybe before you go spouting off your rediculous suggestion you might want to think first.

    • binny

      Unfortunately, there are not enough schools to assure that children always live close enough to walk. My real problem with bus travel is the lack of SEAT BELTS! Study after study says they save lives but, apparently, children aren’t important enough to make their safety a priority. This story is proof of that.

  • Tom

    Oh the horror, but then consider the students and parents, used to whining and complaining, and demanding.

  • lynn Lambert

    People need to be thankful for what they have and quit complaining.

  • Tammy

    Kudos to the mother for taking action. I see a big SAFETY issue here and Prevention is the key. I’d rather here that someone put the school on blast, oppose to hearing about a school bus accident.

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