Williamson Co. students miss classes due to bus driver shortage
“Seniors in high school and eighth graders threatening to kill each other and hurt each other,” a student said.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Students in Williamson County are upset late bus pick-ups are leading to missed classes, overcrowding on the bus, and fights.
This week, parents got texts alerting them their child’s bus would be late to pick them up.
“They drop us off really late,” said one student. “And then we have to miss first or second period which sometimes can be very important because there’s the seventh graders and sixth graders that have classes during those times.”
Families said every day the bus for Ravenwood High School and Woodland Middle School has been anywhere from 40 minutes to over an hour late.
Once they get on, not all students get a seat and must stand in the middle aisle. This leads to verbal and physical fights.
“Seniors in high school and eighth graders threatening to kill each other and hurt each other,” a student told WSMV4.
WSMV4 emailed Williamson County Schools about the issues. They said they are suffering from a bus driver shortage and are looking to fill over 50 openings like the one at MAA Cool Springs.
“It’s because our old bus driver quit,” said the student. “They can’t find a bus to drive us, so they have to find another bus.”
Williamson County said their bus drivers are doing double routes, and the bus is a service they are not required to provide. But for students like the one we spoke with, it’s his only option, even if he must wait hours to get home.
“Sometimes we have to wait until 4:30 p.m.,” he said. “Sometimes we have to wait until 3:50, we have to wait maybe even 5 p.m. some days for our bus to come here because the other buses are dropping off other students and they can’t fit that many people inside of a bus.”
Below is Williamson County Schools’ full response:
“We are short drivers; we are running double bus routes; and there will be times when a bus will be late. We do notify families of late buses, and we do have an app that families can use to track their child’s bus. We continue to adjust routes as best we can, long term, and when a driver is not available to work on a certain day, short term. Regarding the routes you asked about, an adjustment has been made that began today. Any inappropriate behavior that occurs on a bus is referred to the school principal and the school handbook reflects the discipline for the behavior.
We continue to share with our community that bus transportation is a service that we are not required to provide (with the exception of special needs students). We do, however, continue to provide the service to the best of our ability while trying to fill more than 50 bus driver vacancies. If you know of anyone who would like to drive a bus for Williamson County Schools, please have them apply online at www.wcs.edu or call us at 615 472 4000 and we will connect them with the appropriate person.”
Carol Birdsong, Executive Director of Communications for Williamson County Schools.
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