JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It has been a bumpy start for some school bus riders in Duval County.
Right now there’s a shortage of bus drivers and Duval Schools asked parents to have a backup plan and be patient as it works with bus contractors to fill those roles.
News4JAX has heard from multiple parents who said they’ve had issues since Monday, and one group said a bus driver dropped off five children on the opposite side of town from where they were supposed to be this week.
News4JAX spoke to a mother and a grandmother of two of the children on the bus and they asked not to be identified but are demanding action from the school district.
“It’s a parent’s fear not knowing where your child is,” the mother said. “Everybody’s scared everybody is freaking out. We don’t know where our children are at.”
They said the second day back to school felt like a scene out of a movie.
Five children who attend Bridge to Success Academy didn’t make it home from school until close to 8 p.m.
Their parents claim a teacher put them on the wrong school bus and that the bus driver dropped them off at a school that was closed at the time on the Eastside.
“So you dropped not one, not two, but five kids off to a school that was closed for the day without a parent having an inkling or location of their kids,” the frustrated grandparent said.
“You could have just took our kids back to their home school or wherever but not just abandon them on the side of the road and expect them to know where they’re going and expect them to know where they’re at,” the parent said.
The parents said one of the students on the bus had a phone and told them they were dropped off 16 miles from where they should’ve been dropped off.
“Four of them were young ladies and my grandson was the only young man there,” the parent said. “So you have four young ladies plus a young man on the Eastside of Jacksonville in an area they are unfamiliar with out there in limbo.”
Between the Duval school district’s two bus contractors, there are 130 vacancies out of 800 total positions.
Parents still believe this isn’t an excuse.
“I understand that they’re having a problem with the school bus, they’re having a problem with people driving the bus but if you can’t instill to us that our children are going to be taken to school and brought back home safe let us know to find another arrangement for our kids to go to school,” the parent said.
News4JAX reached out to DCPS for comment on the incident and it said it is looking into it.
One of the parents said she plans to take legal action and has withdrawn her daughter from school.