Providence parents outraged over school bus issues

By: Alexandra Cowley

A school bus full of kids gets lost in Providence. Making matters worse, the bus company couldn't track it down. Outraged parents demanded a meeting to try and get all of their concerns taken care of, but many left Tuesday nights meeting unsatisfied.

One by one, concerned parents shared their terrifying experiences not knowing where their elementary school kids were for an hour after they got on their Providence school bus.

Kira Greene had a child on bus 121 on Friday when the driver got lost, his GPS apparently broken, and the school transportation department couldn't tell parents where their kids were.

“It was a little frightening because I didn't understand why they didn't know where the bus was so I got in my car and I drove around the city looking for the bus,”explained Greene.

Greene eventually tracked down the bus.

“I found it and it was pulled over on the side of the road, the lights weren't on, it wasn't letting children out it was just sitting there,” Greene said.

She was able to get on the bus and grab her child plus her neighbors two kids. She says she wasn't asked any questions.

“It's very serious because all the safety protocols were broken,” said Greene.

Fridays incident prompted Tuesday nights meeting, which unveiled a sea of other problems.

Quatia Gonzalez's son is on his 3rd bus after tardiness issues.

“It's very frustrating especially when you're trying to figure out when your kids are coming home and when they're being picked up,”said Gonzalez.

The kids from bus 121 were eventually taken to the Jewish Community Center where a parent had called police. All got off there, and parents were called.

Just a few weeks ago, a 5-year-old girl on a different bus, was dropped off on Branch Avenue, left wandering the street.

Chief Operating Officer of Providence Public Schools, Bernie Lugar, says they are taking the concerns very seriously.

“We're addressing those issues, were not going to quit until those kids are delivered every single day,” said Lugar.

The school department says it will meet with the school bus company, First Student, and get back to the parents on their issues. The parents are compiling a list of problems they came up with Tuesday night for the school board to address.

As for the driver from Friday's incident, he's no longer on any Providence Routes.

(C) WLNE-TV 2013