Bluefield Daily Telegraph
I feel compelled to respond to Wednesday’s editorial entitled “Overcrowding: Mercer must address school bus issue.” I am prompted to write not because I dispute that on Monday one of our buses was crowded, but because the editorial suggested that the district was not addressing the issue fast enough and that bus operators were not following policy.
As to the latter concern, our drivers know and abide by county policy on dozens of issues including overcrowding, but they also know that changes cannot be safely enacted without notifying parents first. On the first day of school, Thursday, August 15, this particular Bluefield Middle bus was not overcrowded. (Often, parents transport youngsters by car on the first day of school.) On Friday, August 16, the bus was crowded, and the bus operator promptly reported the situation.
As per policy, affected parents were notified on Monday that a second bus would be added to the route the following day and given information about bus stops and times. By Tuesday, any issue of overcrowding had been satisfactorily dealt with.
No one knows more than we do that “making sure students get to and from school safely is a great responsibility.” Our drivers have superior safety records despite difficult road conditions and weather problems. We transport 6,500 students safely to and from school 180 days a year, and we take that job very seriously.
Deborah S. Akers, Ed. D.
Mercer County Schools