‘A let down’: Bus driver shortages cancel kids’ after school activities

SPOKANE, Wash. — Kids couldn’t wait for their extracurricular activities to make a comeback this year, but they’re not getting the full experience they were hoping for.

“They did everything they could, but there just weren’t drivers or buses,” said Amber McCollum. Her daughter loves to play softball at Sacajawea Middle School.

The school did what it could, but there just weren’t enough bus drivers to keep the season going. The seventh grade softball team only played two games because of the shortages. The rest of their season was just scrimmages.

“It was kind of a letdown not getting to play as much or getting to play with other schools,” said Anneliese McCollum. She’s 12-years-old and can’t get enough of her favorite game.

While the team was still able to play, parents say it just wasn’t the total package they were hoping for.

“Although the kids got to play, they’re playing their practice teammates, and there wasn’t the parent involvement that you normally would’ve seen nor was there the umpires and just the whole appreciation for learning the sport,” Amber said.

She and other parents tried to transport the team themselves, but it’s against district policy. Durham School Services is trying to hire more drivers. Since the beginning of the school year, Durham says 22 new drivers have come on board. Twenty-three more people are in training right now and will start driving routes soon.

Both Amber and Anneliese hope something changes so kids can get back to doing what they love and parents can catch their breath.

“It’s not normal. It’s stressful,” Amber said. “It’s super hard to try to get your work life back on track when your kids’ school life is still boomeranging around.”

If you or someone you know would like to apply to be a bus driver, you can learn more HERE.

PREVIOUSFamilies across the Inland Northwest affected by bus driver shortages

PREVIOUS: Bus driver shortages are latest challenge hitting US schools