Cops called when Metro Schools can’t find children on buses - WSMV News 4

Cops called when Metro Schools can’t find children on buses

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A News4 I-Team investigation found parents so frantic that their children were hours late on Metro school buses that police were called to find them.

An examination of parent complaints and internal track of buses found case after case of children still on buses hours after their usual drop off and, in some cases, metro schools were unable to track them.

Donna Myers said when her four-year-old autistic grandson, who can barely communicate, wasn’t home by 5 p.m. and Metro Schools couldn’t locate his bus, she had to call the police.

“It's not really what any parent, or grandparent, should have to think about. Their child is missing,” Myers said.

Another Metro parent, whose foster child is also autistic and non-verbal, told the News4 I-Team when the child’s bus was hours late, Metro could not find her child.

“It was a very scary time,” said the parent, who asked not to be identified.

The News4 I-Team found another case where a metro school mother called police when her child didn’t get home until after 5 p.m.

Ken Stark, transportation director for Metro Schools, said in the 500 routes Metro School buses run, three times a day, the vast majority of kids arrive on time on Metro buses.

“But if parents are having to call the police, looking for their kids on buses, does that indicate you have a serious problem?” asked the News4 I-Team.

“I'm not sure about (police) had to be called, I think a lot of times it's just a matter of course,” Stark said.

But 88 pages of complaints show a number of frustrated parents in the past two years, ranging from buses delivering children three hours late to students.

According to Metro’s own data, the section of town with Metro school buses arriving the latest is the southwest quadrant

The section of town that’s experienced the most incidences of kids being dropped off at the wrong location is the southeast quadrant.

One mother filed a complaint that her seven-year-old was dropped off at the wrong stop and had no idea where he was.

Our investigation found a common complaint: parents having no idea that their child’s route had been “doubled” meaning Metro Schools decided to have another bus and driver cover part or all of another bus driver’s routes.

“Shouldn't there be a system in place to alert parents if their kids are going to be late?” asked the News 4 I-Team.

“I would love for there to be a system that was reliable and provided accurate information,” Stark said.

Metro Schools does have GPS tracking on buses for routing.

And there is software available that allows parents to know where they kid’s buses are.

But Metro Schools is still evaluating if that software provides accurate data.

If your child isn’t home on time, you should call 615-259-INFO which is the district’s family information center.

Metro Schools reports employees work out of that center while buses are running and are tasked with locating children who are running late.

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