Parent says late bus is causing child safety issues - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Parent says late bus is causing child safety issues

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Lisa Jefferies says the bus taking her children to school has been late at least five times during the past three months. She says she's hit a brick wall in her search for answers.

"The bus was about 40 minutes late earlier this week," said Jefferies. "Durham Services is maintaining that it was again a mechanical issue."

But Jay Ragley, with the South Carolina Department of Education, says that's not the case.

The DOE, which is responsible for a portion of the fleet's maintenance, paid nearly $300,000 for maintenance in Charleston County from July of last year to February of 2013 alone.

Ragley says although the year has been troublesome, a newer model bus was put on the route. He claims the latest issue was caused by a Durham driver who drained the battery of the bus.

"I don't want excuses," Jefferies said. "I don't want people to be blaming other people. We should all be working as a team, and the core of that is child safety."

Jefferies says her biggest concern is that her children were left waiting for nearly an hour, which could expose them to bullying or even child predators.

"What I don't want to have happen is one of the children to get hurt and then us take the issue seriously," she continued.

She shared e-mail exchanges sent out to leaders on state and local levels, including Michael Bobby, Chief Finance and Operations Director with the Charleston County School District.

Bobby says the state fleet is way over age, and the amount of resources that are able to be given to support maintenance and care of buses is underfunded. He said they're doing the best they can with the resources they have been given.

"We continue to talk to parents about what we're doing, but more importantly, we ask parents to follow up and contact those that can make the most difference in the way the system is run and that's our legislators," said Bobby.

But Jefferies says her voice will only have an impact if it's being heard.

"I don't have confidence or trust right now that while I've talked with all these different entities, whether it be state, district or Durham Services, they may be hearing me but they're not doing anything. No action has been taken," she added.

Again, Ragley says the latest issue was not due to a lack of maintenance, but rather driver error. Durham School Services has been contacted for a statement, but News 2 has not heard back.

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