Thursday, September 20, 2012

Southbridge School Bus Overcrowding - Fox News, Boston

Tammy Perreault
Fox News Channel 25 in Boston has carried a report on claims of overcrowding on buses carrying students to the new Southbridge Middle/High School.

The report was prompted by a local parent, Willimaris Vega, contacting the station alleging that students were having to stand, sit three to a seat or sit on the floor while travelling to and from the school.

In a telephone interview, school Principal Tammy Perreault responded that officials had reacted quickly to the complaint, getting on the buses themselves to assess the situation.

The report as carried on the Fox 25 News website, as well as the video, follows:

SOUTHBRIDGE (FOX 25 / – A concerned parent in Southbridge reached out to FOX 25 after learning that her child was riding an overcrowded bus en route to the district's new middle-high school.

It's a cautionary tale that happens almost every school year: overcrowded buses.

According to Willimaris Vega, her child, as well as many others, is being forced to stand, sit three to a seat, or sit on the floor of the bus due to the overcrowding.

"Where's the safety of our kids? Where's? I mean somebody's gotta see this," Willimaris said.

Tammy Perrault, the school's principal, told FOX 25 that the school acted swiftly in response to the complaint.

"We got on the buses ourselves to investigate, and to see with our own eyes, in order to better address it.  And then we handled it within the building and within the bus company," Perrault said. 

The problem may have been handled in Southbridge, but overcrowding on buses is a widespread issue, Lynn Peterson of the School Transportation Association of Massachusetts told FOX 25.

Parents in Stoughton also reached out to FOX 25 regarding a similar issue.
According to state and federal guidelines, students in kindergarten through sixth grade must have at least 13 inches of room on a seat on a bus, and a good rule of thumb is two high school students per seat.

"It's like eggs in an egg carton.  The kids are safe when they're in the confines of the seat, and the seat is padded so if there should be an accident, they would be protected," Peterson said. 
Ultimately, the municipality, the bus company, and the police safety officer decide as a group, how many kids are assigned to a bus.  If parents are concerned, they should contact their child's school.

Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston


  1. I also saw this report. This is caused by a problem that I have been harping on for quite a while, including my blog entry today.

    It seems to be a hard point to get across to school officials that they must have a clear way to discuss issues that arise form the public. The school website, which could be a valuable source of information, is a shambles.

    When people do not know whom to call with issues, or if those issues are perceived to be ignored, people will resort to whatever measures they can to be heard. Having things get to this level of frustration is very avoidable. It inhibits trust and support for the schools.

  2. Shouldn't the bus driver have addressed this issue with the bus company or with the school when it first happened?

  3. inexperience is showingSeptember 22, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    where was the principle on this matter? I was told the BUCK stops with her so much for experience Huh, maybe she should consult with her mentor lol.

  4. What ever happened to people stating their opinion and not hiding behind a screen name? If you have an opinion say it and don't be afraid to put your name, or maybe that's just your inexperience showing. She can't be everywhere at once and relies on people (like the bus company) to inform her of issues. And please, I implore you, use punctuation.

    Brent made a great point "When people do not know whom to call with issues, or if those issues are perceived to be ignored, people will resort to whatever measures they can to be heard" There is a lot of that going around when a simple call to the right person could avoid a lot of headaches.

    I do have to disagree with Brent that the website is a shambles. It could be a little more user friendly but you can find just about any information you want, and if you can't I'm sure you can find a phone number.


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