Photo of Lamar Consolidated ISD students forced to sit in bus aisles because of crowding causing stir

RICHMOND, Texas – If you’re a parent, you know how hard it can be at times to get your kids to just sit down and have a seat. That problem is being amplified on Lamar Consolidated ISD school buses because there aren’t enough seats to go around. Some kids say they’re forced to sit on the floor of the buses.

The fear is that the problem will get even worse as the district expands.

Aside from the students feeling squished, parents say they’re most concerned for their children’s safety.

“Something bad could happen,” said parent Matheus Baldo. “Three or four kids in one seat and no seat belt.”

Baldo’s son Lucas is 8 years old and in the second grade at Frost Elementary School.

“I feel like uncomfortable a lot,” Lucas said. “There’s so many kids everywhere.”

Another parent, Matthew Carreon, says the issue is not limited to elementary school students within LCISD.

“I’ve got two kids that go to high school and I’ve asked them today and they’re yeah... There’s always students in the middle aisle. Too many problems, too many issues. There’s been accidents on 723,” Carreon said.

A statement from LCISD partly reads, “The bus driver shortage is a nationwide issue that we (and other districts) have been battling for a while now... Being a fast-growth district, we are transporting 3,000 more students this year than last year.”

“Being self-employed, I’ve applied. I never got a call back to be a bus driver. I’ve got plenty of time on my hand,” Carreon said.

Just like the burgeoning area, for Baldo, Carreon and so many other parents concerns are also growing.

“There is an expansion coming. There’s going to be more traffic and with more traffic, there’s going to be more people driving in it. For the buses to not have seatbelts or to be overcrowded is extremely dangerous,” Carreon said.

To combat the issue, LCISD says it has designed a new system that involves the same number of drivers but adds more staggered pick-up and drop-off times so that fewer kids are having to get on the buses at once.

It’s set to be implemented at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year.

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