by: Carl Willis Updated:
CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Record enrollment in Clayton County Public Schools is forcing some students to ride on the floor of their school buses.
Parent Robin Davis said she never got a notice from the school district about the crowded conditions. Instead, she said her 8-year-old daughter brought it up in conversation, telling her she's been riding on the floor for weeks.
"Sometimes I'll just hold on to the two chairs beside me and I'll just try to balance myself," said Suder Elementary student Carliona Davis.
"It's bad enough they're not in seatbelts," said Robin Davis.
Tai Robinson said her children also attend Suder Elementary. She told Channel 2's Carl Willis they've also had to ride on the floor and hang on.
"We put our children in the hands of these people every day on this bus," she said. "The children are going to fly forward with nothing to stop them."
Willis contacted Clayton County Schools for an explanation. Their spokesperson confirmed the parents' claims.
"Some of our school buses are experiencing overages and that has a lot to do with the fact that we have a record enrollment of just over 53,000 students," said Vicki Constantinides.
She said most of those students, some 27,000, ride the bus. The school district picked up 1,700-2,000 new riders due to the non-transport zone shrinking from 1.5 miles to one mile.
"It's not just our bus route that's affected," said Robinson.
"If it's happening here, it's happening all over," added Davis.
Constantinides said the state allows for a 20 percent overage and insists the children are safe.
"School buses are built for safety so that the children who are squatting on the floor, or as older students may be standing, they are still safe in a school bus," said Constantinides.
She said the transportation department will re-work the bus routes and bus stops to address the issue. That includes the routes to and from Suder Elementary. Constantinides said parents should look out for notifications and check for updates on the district website.