JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- With buses not on time and drivers changing without notification, parents in Clay County want to see change. The request comes following nearly a half a dozen issues in the last month relating to school bus changes without notification to parents.
Parents in Clay County say the school district needs to fix their transportation system. Parents argue buses aren’t running on time and their children are getting on different buses than they’re supposed to without informing the parents of the change.
A mother named Amy picks her nephew along Sunset Ride Drive nearly every day but said the buses are far from on a regular schedule.
“We definitely have a timing issue, because sometimes our kids get home at 2:30, other times it’s 3:10,” she said.
More importantly, Amy and other neighbors say they’re not hearing about the changes.
“Nobody is being notified of changes, changes in the bus route, changes in the driver, changes in time, in drop off time,” Amy said.
Just last week, Amy says her nephew failed to get on a bus entirely altogether.
“Isn’t it somebody’s responsibility to make sure he gets on the right bus and home to the right place. They’re five and six years old, that’s too much responsibility for them to make sure they’re on the right bus going to the right place," she said.
“I’m angry at this point, I fear for my kids safety, that’s my world,” parent Emilianna Webb said.
Webb says it’s not just buses from Shadowlawn Elementary.
“I actually have three kids going to two separate schools and it’s happening on both angles," she said. When asked if she think it’s a Clay County School issue, she said, “Absolutely.”
Bottom line, Amy and Webb say this is about safety.
“You know there are sexual predators all around Clay County, it just takes one second, you know a child gets on the wrong bus and then gets off on the wrong stop and child predator right there and bam. It scares me to death, it really does, it makes me fearful for my child to ride the bus nowadays," she said.
Both Amy and Webb say when they’ve contacted the school to find out why the delay or change, they get mixed messages.
“The school assumed that the bus drivers were letting us know and the bus drivers assumed the school was, but I’m like, nobody notified us," she said.
First Coast News reached out to the Clay County Transportation administration and they told us about an app that allows parents to keep track of bus numbers and drop of times in real-time, but both Amy and Webb argue the app isn’t the solution.
“You can monitor a kid on the bus, but what if they’re not on a bus, that app does me no good," she said.
“I’ve noticed my kids getting on different buses, like different numbers, so if I plug it into the app, they’re not going to be on the bus they’re supposed to be on," Webb said. "The bus needs to be here when they’re supposed to be here, what if they had a doctor’s appointment, I don’t know they just need to figure it out."
Clay County Transportation Administration encourages parents to download the “Here Comes the Bus” App, but these parents say change still needs to happen.
Clay County released a statement:
"Clay County District Schools is taking proactive measures to make sure parents and guardians are updated with bus information in real time. The District already utilizes the Here Comes the Bus application, which allows parents to track their child’s bus. In addition, the transportation department continues to work diligently to make parents aware of bus schedule changes through multiple platforms including robocalls and notification through administrators at schools. The District will continue to look for ways to communicate with parents effectively and efficiently at all levels as safety remains our greatest priority.”