EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Students have been back in the classroom for a couple weeks now and parents in East Longmeadow have contacted 22News with concerns over their children’s safety on school buses.
Parents say the buses are overloaded, with kids crowding and sitting in the aisles. These are some of the problems concerned parents in East Longmeadow say they have observed on the district’s school buses. East Longmeadow contracts with the Lower Pioneer Valley Collaborative for transportation services.
“What if a bus gets in an accident? A kid in an aisle could go through a window. It’s really the school and the bus department’s job to keep our children safe to and from school,” said a concerned parent.
Kim Rizzo said she lives miles from the school, but one of her children is now walking home because of the crowding problems with three to four kids per seat. “Public transportation in East Longmeadow is not free, it’s $250 per student once they hit 7th grade. So we are paying for our kids to supposedly safely ride a bus, but it doesn’t seem like they are able to provide that.”
According to Massachusetts State Law, the number of students on a bus should not exceed the number of 13 inch seats available. The average bus seat is 39 inches and has a maximum capacity of three students.
The East Longmeadow schools’ student transportation services policy states it’s purpose is to “…aid students in getting to and from school in an efficient, safe and economical manner.”
22News called the East Longmeadow Superintendent of Schools and the Lower Pioneer Valley Collaborative about this issue and did not hear back. The parents 22News spoke to said they also have contacted the school department and the bus company and have not heard back.
This is not the first time East Longmeadow parents have expressed overcrowding concerns, it was also an issue in 2019.