Cell phone video of overcrowded school bus raises questions about student safety

Cell phone video of overcrowded school bus raises questions about student safety

When you drop your child off at the bus stop, their safety is out of your hands. One Spokane mom came to that realization Thursday when her daughter, a sophomore at Lewis and Clark High School, sent her cell phone video of an overcrowded bus on the way to school.

Trina Butler sent those videos to KXLY4 Thursday out of concern for her daughter’s safety and asked us to find answers as to how something like this could happen.

“I just expect her to get a safe ride to school,” Butler said. “I just feel like it’s a total safety issue.”

The video shows students loading onto an overcrowded school bus, contracted by Durham School Services. In the video, you can hear the driver tell Butler’s daughter, and several other students, to sit down even without full seats available.

“Everybody has to be seated, even just a little bit on a corner of a seat,” the driver announces over the intercom. “Even put a quarter of your cheek on a seat.”

With no other options, the students sit in the aisle of the bus.

Spokane Public Schools said the overflow traces back to registration. Many on the bus, a spokesperson for the district says, were not registered to ride.

“There are 43 registered riders for a bus that carries about 75 high school students on it,” said Brian Coddington, a district spokesperson.

What was supposed to be a half-full bus was overflowing with students. Butler said her daughter is registered to ride the bus.

“They need to come up with a better way to get it out there that they must register,” Butler said.

The district told KXLY4 the driver should have called for a second bus to avoid students creating make-shift aisle seats. With the video in mind, Butler won’t be taking any chances this week.

“I will be driving my daughter to school tomorrow and they better have the issue resolved by Monday,” Butler said.

KXLY4 reached out to Durham School Services for a comment Thursday. A spokesperson for the bus contractor said the overflow was addressed Thursday afternoon, when a second bus was added to bus 130’s route. The representative said an additional bus will remain on the route while students continue to register. According to Durham School Services, the driver “is receiving training to ensure that this does not happen again, and we are reminding all drivers of the importance of following capacity limits.”