Parents seek answers about lost school bus

Angry parents gathered Tuesday night for a meeting with city and school officials for what they call ongoing problems with school buses in Providence.

Sandra Schenck said her 6-year-old son, Nasir, was stranded on bus No. 121 for more than an hour Friday when the bus driver got lost.

The driver had no functional GPS or cellphone. About eight children between 5 and 10 years old were on the bus.

"Parents were having to run around to get their children. Some parents took over other children and gave them rides to where they should have been. Everybody had to make phone calls," Sandra Schenck said.

She was not the only parent who was angry.

"The bus driver had no idea where to drop the kids, who to drop them with. Kids were released to people that they were not authorized to release them to. Kids left the bus with no parent," said Michele Meek.

Meek also said that high school students share the same bus with elementary students, which she said worries some parents.

Bernie Luger, the chief operating officer of Providence schools, said he agrees the problems are unacceptable and must be resolved.

"Of course I'm mad," Luger said. "I'm responsible for these buses, getting these kids home on time."

Luger said the bus driver who got lost on Friday will no longer be driving for Providence.

"When mistakes are made, we find them, we address them with the personnel that's involved, and we fix it. And that's already been done here. We're going to continue to work on this, and our goal is to get it so that these parents have on time deliveries of their children every single day, safely," Luger said.

First Student, the company that runs the city's school buses, did not send a representative to the forum.

Many of the angry parents said they plan to attend the regularly scheduled School Board meeting Monday night.

The parents said their main goal is to make sure the problems are resolved before a student gets lost or hurt.