RCSD parents frightened for their children’s safety after long bus delays without warning
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — As the Rochester City School District starts classes and tries to work through its school bus driver shortage, some families say they went through hours of frightening delay when their children were held up by late buses.
Ivy McNerney, 5, kept up her enthusiasm even after a long delay from when she got on her Rochester school bus to when she finally made it home.
"I was at school! I am a first-grader,” she exclaimed.
It was a different story for her parents, who tried calling every phone number they had to find out where she was.
"We didn’t know if she was hurt, if there was an accident, it could’ve been anything,” said Ivy’s mother, Jessica McNerney.
The ordeal was similar for 9-year-old Raydin Champion who got on the bus at Parker School 23 and ended up on a three-hour odyssey.
"She came home crying. Scared. Doesn’t want to go on the bus anymore now,” said her father, Kevin.
On the first day of class in Rochester Thursday, News10NBC has heard from numerous families whose children didn’t show up for hours after getting on their buses after school.
Before she finally arrived, Raydin’s father Kevin says he called the school and the bus garage repeatedly, and even the police, while her mother searched.
"She was literally out chasing down buses, trying to find her,” he said. “Following buses, pulling up next to them, trying to see if she was on the bus, any bus.”
Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small said there were some early glitches as the district dealt with its bus driver shortage and started the school year.
"There also were, and this is common for the first day of school, a few late arrivals and pick-ups,” she said. “Again, our drivers are still getting used to routes and sometimes it takes a little longer."
“Yeah, I wouldn’t call that a glitch,” Champion said. “That’s totally, completely, dropping the ball.”
These parents say they understand the district’s challenges, and that they just want a heads up, like a robocall, if there are going to be these lengthy, scary, delays.
“They are in charge of our children when we can’t be,” McNerney said. “So they need to prove to us that our children are safe with them.”
The district is planning to have all its students in school in person starting on Monday.