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Parents upset over new transportation policy

Transportation Director says previous chaos led to safety issues

schoolbus

    Some parents of Pickens County students say the recent changes to the bus transportation policy have left them scrambling to find childcare after school lets out.
    But the school system’s transportation director Bruce Godfrey said the changes have been put in place for the sole reason of keeping Pickens students safe, not to make it easier on bus drivers or the system as a whole.  

 


    Under the new policy, students will not be allowed to be picked up or dropped off at different locations. The morning pick-up address can be different from the afternoon drop-off address, but morning and afternoon stops must be consistent.
    “We can’t have students riding here one afternoon, then to a friend’s house this afternoon, then to grandma’s house the next,” Godfrey said. “This was initiated because of safety concerns. We get tons of calls last minute from parents and drivers get a barrage of notes they are trying to keep up with about who gets off at what stop and this creates a distraction.”
    Godfrey said it was these kinds of distractions that caused two children to get off at a stop last year and go to a residence where no one was home.
    “It ended up being okay, but these are the problems it can create,” he said.
    Pickens mom Ashley Lee, who has three children in Pickens County schools, said she understands the safety concerns for children, but that she has no idea what she is going to do this school year as a result of the new policy.
     “We only have one vehicle and my aunt was helping us by keeping our elementary school daughter on days my husband works,” Lee said, who commutes to Cherokee County. “Due to the new changes she will not be allowed to ride the same bus to two different locations.”
    Lee’s aunt, who does not drive, lives on the same bus route less than two miles down the road.
    “We are in a bind and honestly do not know what we are going to do,” she said. “Our options are to send [our daughter] home alone on these days, which is not something we will do, or to pay for after school, which causes a whole new set of hardships for our family.”
    The transportation director said they understand parents’ concerns, but something had to be done to address the problem.
    “The way it was being done creates chaos at school,” he said. “Being a bus driver is a tough job and all those changes make it more chaotic.”
    Godfrey said parents will be able to make transportation change requests, but that they must now be formal requests of a more permanent nature.
    “You can’t just call in to make a change,” he said. “You have to fill out a form and go through the proper channels. These have to be long-term changes, not just changes for one day.”

Comments   

Laura
+1 #21 Laura 2013-08-20 14:10
Mr. Hendrix - if you are going to quote a document, you should quote it correctly. It states children "under 8" not 8 and under. That document starts out with "Like most states, Georgia does not have regulations or laws to determine when a child is considered old enough to care for her/himself or to care for other children." It goes on to list guidelines (which are not laws) that parents should follow.
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Charles O. Hendrix J
-2 #22 Charles O. Hendrix J 2013-08-21 01:26
Laura- Look up the word mandate in the dictionary. I do not know what source you are quoting but the DFACS laws are quite clear and state 8 and under. The DFACS mandate is the guideline that Pickens County transportation is adhering to. In other words your claim that the transportation department made it up is a bunch of bull and an outright lie. I was trying to be civil but I see that had no effect on you. You made an accusation that the transportation department made it up because you did not have the intellectual capability to do a search and find the applicable law. Is that better?
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Laura
-1 #23 Laura 2013-08-22 13:16
Mr. Hendrix does not know what he is talking about, that is why he has resorted to name calling.

For everyone else who has issue or hardship due to the new transportation rule, here is the link: http://dfcs.dhs.georgia.gov/safety-precautions-when-leaving-children-home-alone

You can also call DFCS to verify, as I did.
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TNT
-2 #24 TNT 2013-08-26 20:23
I'd say Laura is right and C.O.H. Jr is wrong.
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Guest
0 #25 Guest 2013-08-29 00:46
It amazes me how ugly you people talk to strangers. In response to my prior comment. I trust my 15 yr old, it's the rest of the world I don't trust. The bus stop is over half a mile up a mountain from our home. I solved my problem. I took her out of public school. So haters go jump in a lake, a lake of fire where you belong.
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