Chesapeake parents complain of late, absent school bus

(WAVY Photo/Matt Gregory)

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — School bus failures have some parents fed up in Chesapeake.

“I just feel like I’m not being heard or acknowledged,” said Galia Farris, a single mom.

Farris contacted 10 On Your Side for help, claiming her daughter’s school bus has so far failed to show up on time, if at all, 16 different times this school year.

“It’s probably, on average, once a week, sometimes twice a week,” said another parent, Michael Lawson. “They just don’t turn down our road and pick our children up.”

According to parents, the problem started in the fall. Sometimes, they had already made it to work before discovering that their kids were left stranded. The fifth grade girls occasionally had to knock on the neighbors’ doors for rides.

Now, their parents have resorted to sticking around and waiting for the bus. If it doesn’t show, they drive the girls to Great Bridge Intermediate.

“We wait in the drop-off line and now it puts me late to work, and it puts her late to school,” Farris said.

For months, she’s contacted school officials. In a November email obtained by 10 On Your Side, a transportation coordinator, Richard Morgan, explains “we need many new drivers… as a result, many other drivers are being asked to help with other runs.”

Parents claim the bus frequently has a substitute driver.

Farris told 10 On Your Side that the last problem occurred on Friday. But according to Kellie Goral, a school spokesperson, the bus in question picked up students and arrived to school on time.

“There was no bus when I left my home at 7:40,” Farris said.

Goral said the school has been utilizing a new radio and GPS system this year, which has been very efficient in resolving bus issues.

But more needs to be done, according to Farris.

“I understand that there are a lot of things to take care of in the Chesapeake school system, but I don’t feel like we’re being heard, and that our children’s safety is just not that important to them.”