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.

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