Student stands while riding school bus, alleges overcrowding

Central Florida student shoots video of kids standing in aisle

By Lisa Bell - Anchor

CELEBRATION, Fla. - A Central Florida student says he regularly stands on his school bus while riding home due to overcrowding, and he shot video to prove it.

His parents say they are now wondering why any student should have to endure this and want the Osceola County School District to reduce crowding on buses.

Chandler Desrochers, 16, said he captured the video Tuesday on his way home from Celebration High School. He said for nearly four and half miles, students are regularly crammed into seats.

"If the bus gets into an accident, God forbid, the person sitting on the aisle goes flying forward," said Desrochers.

The Celebration High sophomore says some students are so uncomfortable they stand for the ride.

"It's not safe," said Chandler's mom, Melea Desrochers.

The Desrochers cited state statute about seat belts on school buses, but Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Kim Montes said that although buses now need to be equipped with seat belts, state law does not require students to wear them.

"But if you've got three children shoved in a seat and one of them is hanging half-way off of the seat, obviously the seat belts are probably not going to contain that third person," said Melea Desrochers.

"The younger kids are smaller so three to a seat might make sense for them," said Marty Desrochers, Chandler's father. "High school, three to a seat is mostly not doable."

In an email to Local 6, Osceola County School spokeswoman Dana Schafer says the bus was not overcrowded and standing on a moving bus is not allowed.

"The student chose not to sit down -- he certainly wasn't asked or required to stand. The approved occupancy of the bus is three to a seat. It was an 84-passenger bus," wrote Schafer. "You can see from the video that there are available seats vacant. We'd love, as I'm sure the students would as well, to only have two to a seat, which is more comfortable. Sometimes that isn't possible -- this is not an overcrowding situation."

The Desrochers disagree.

"I don't want to make a huge deal out of it, but it's a safety issue," said Melea Desrochers.

"I mean that's my biggest thing is that they're not restrained and, God forbid, an accident were to happen," said Marty Desrochers.

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