BOSTON (WHDH) - A significant shortage of bus drivers in the Boston Public Schools system raised concern among parents as some children were left behind when the new school year began on Thursday.
Cheryl Buckman said the bus never came to pick up her son, Landen, who is in third grade.
“Seeing him today, it shattered me into pieces. It’s all he wants, to be at school with his friends,” Buckman said.
Landen’s bus was scheduled to pick him up at 7 a.m., Buckman said. At 7:05, Buckman received a text saying the bus route was uncovered and the school system was looking for a driver.
“All I want is for this poor kid to go to school,” Buckman said. “He’s already lost a lot of learning.”
A Boston Public Schools spokesperson said another bus driver picked up the route three hours later. Buckman was unaware another bus had been sent, or what time it was set to arrive.
“I just hope he gets on his bus tomorrow,” Buckman
Superintendent Brenda Cassellius had warned families last week that there could be significant delays or cancellations because the school system is between 40 and 60 drivers short of normal staffing levels.
United Steelworkers Local 8751, the union that represents the city’s bus drivers, said, “Routing for the 2021-2022 school year is by far the worst fiasco we’ve witnessed in our careers…”This transportation chaos is happening in the context of a historic pandemic. The Union has also demanded COVID-19 routing measures, like additional start time prior to the morning and afternoon trips and a fair COVID-19 quarantine policy.”
“I don’t think we are treating this with the true urgency of what this means to a family if a school bus doesn’t show up,” said Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards. “It isn’t a matter of them just getting into a car. It’s a matter of kids just getting educated.”
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