‘It was a hot mess’: Bedford parents outraged after students left stranded at school
Over 100 kids at an elementary school in Bedford, N.S., were left stranded on Wednesday after their school buses simply failed to show up.
Dozens of parents of students at Basinview Drive Community School took to social media on Wednesday to voice their frustrations with some buses that showed up late, early, or not at all.
Courtney Roobol, who has two children attending the school, says despite the bus picking her kids up 10 minutes late, they arrived to class 40 minutes after the school bell rang.
But after school, Roobol says their bus didn’t even show up.
“When I got to the school at 4:30 p.m., there were children all through the office, through the lobby, there were some that were crying,” says Roobol. “The biggest thing is there was no way to get ahold of Stock [Transportation].”
Roobol says they tried calling Stock 73 times throughout the day on Wednesday, getting through only once to leave a voicemail. She spoke with the school’s principal, who told her that three full buses of kids were stuck at the school.
“It was a hot mess,” Roobol said. “It was a disaster, is what it really was.”
“At the end of the day, kids should not be left stranded at school like that for two hours.”
That’s a frustration echoed by Liz Hamilton, who says her children arrived at school 45 minutes late and were also left with nowhere to go once classes ended.
“They basically had time to get home, shovel food down their throats and go to bed. I haven’t even heard about their first days,” Hamilton told Global News.
“Never in years past have we had buses just not show up.”
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Parents say the three buses that didn’t show up left more than 100 students in the school’s office – many visibly upset.
Hamilton says when she contacted Stock, they told her they’re still unsure of what the problem was. Roobol says Stock is pointing the finger elsewhere.
“Like, how many months do you have to prep?” Roobol asks. “If you call Stock, they say you have to call the school. If you call the school, they say you have to submit a form through Stock. So there’s a huge disconnect.”
A representative from Stock Transportation was not available for comment on Wednesday evening.
Parent Chris Dwyer-Perkins, whose child also was stuck at school on Wednesday, says when he checked the bus-tracking app in the afternoon, it showed his child’s bus in Bayers Lake.
“It honestly feels like [Stock] waited until a week or two ago before they started to actually plan everything, and now it just feels like a catch-up game,” said Dwyer-Perkins.
A statement from the Halifax Regional Centre of Education states in part that they are “working closely with Stock Transportation” and are “confident that as everyone settles into the regular routine of the school year, we have a system in place to safely deliver our students to school on time every day.”
Dwyer-Perkins was upset with the statement, claiming it didn’t acknowledge any of the problems at hand. He’s hoping for transparency and accountability from Stock in the days to come.
“I would totally understand if there were delays because parents didn’t know how to export kids to their buses … but some sort of transparency to let us know whether parents need to act a little better, or if Stock dropped the ball,” said Dwyer-Perkins.
“Because at the end of the day, if you don’t own up to what you did, it’s just more animosity created by all the back and forth.”
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The parents collectively praised the school’s staff members for going above and beyond by staying late, giving the children snacks and drinks, and keeping them calm and entertained until their parents arrived.
But they mainly hope that this is an issue that’s put to bed earlier than later into the school year.
“It was a lot,” said Hamilton. “I’m sending a very hyperactive soon-to-be five-year-old on the bus tomorrow, and I’m petrified about what’s going to happen after school.”
“Year over year, it’s an issue. And it’s not right, because it’s children. Unfortunately, they don’t have a voice,” said Roobol.
“At the end of the day, this shouldn’t happen.”
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