High School students sit on floor, in aisle of Orange County school bus

Concerned parents worried for safety

By Clay LePard - Reporter

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The school year is still just beginning, but parents were not expecting to see pictures showing students sitting in the aisle of a school bus from overcrowding. 

News 6 obtained photos and videos of students sitting on the floor and in the aisles, as well as three students assigned to a two-person seat. The bus was taking children home from the first week of school at Freedom High School.

"We have a problem of overcrowding in the seats," said Stephanie, a parent who declined to give her last name.

She is one of several concerned parents asking school leaders to stop this yearly cycle of overcrowded buses at the beginning of the year. 

"Unless people are moving out of Florida, or stop moving into Florida, this is only going to continue to be a problem," she said. "So it needs to be addressed now before somebody gets seriously injured or hurt or killed."

In an email, representatives with Orange County Public Schools told News 6 they're looking into the issue: 

"Transportation is looking into this bus route and in the process of balancing loads. The number of students assigned to this bus is less than capacity.... Every year at the beginning of the year transportation works with its drivers to determine which routes have an overflow of students and if a new route/bus is needed.

"This period of time takes a few weeks because the number of students can change day to day. Typically within a few weeks the routes balance out to determine how many students will be using the bus service. Although a student is listed as a bus rider it does not mean the use that service. They may be a car rider or have their own car, etc.

"Manufacturer’s capacity is 77 students per bus."

That mother plans on bringing up the issue of overcrowding on buses at Tuesday's night school board meeting, which is set to take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Ronald Blocker Educational Leadership Center, located at 445 West Amelia St. in Orlando. 

"People seem to be thinking there is no solution. I say there is always a solution for the safety of our children and I will accept no other answer for that," she said.  

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