• Crowded school buses draw parents' concern


    COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Local parents contacted Channel 2 Action News to voice concerns about  what they feel are unsafe conditions on their children's' school buses and a driver shortage.

    Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant got some answers directly from the district's transportation director.

    Earlier this week, Channel 2 Action News started hearing from parents concerned whether their kids were safe while packed four deep into seats on some Cobb County school buses.

    "I just want to make sure that they're prioritizing safety for our kids getting to and from school," one parent said.

    "They're sitting four to a seat. That makes the bus overcrowded and it could risk issues with the aisle, and if there were god forbid and accident, there's a lot of kids falling into each other," said one mom whose child attends Sope Creek Elementary.

    Under Georgia law, school busses can run at 20 percent over capacity. Which means Cobb County schools can pack 72-seaters with up to 86 kids.

    "That compromises their safety and I’d like to see them fix it," said one mom.

    District's Transportation Director Rick Grisham asked for parents' patience.

    "The first two weeks of school are not normal,” Grisham said. “We're finding out new students, new subdivisions, construction zones, so with all those variables, we start the year like we ended."

    "All of our routes are covered,” Grisham said. “We just don't have extra drivers standing by to go pick up a load that's got 75 or 76. We can't do that now because we don't have the extra people."

    Grisham told Diamant the district quit making double runs along some routes after parents complained it took kids on the second run too long to get home and tweaking the routes takes time.

    "Our routing team has been working in the evenings, they'll probably work this weekend and get into next week to get these fixed," Grisham said.

    District leaders maintain young students sitting four-deep are safe assuming they're not hanging out in the aisle. Right sizing bus routes is not an uncommon challenge for many large school districts, especially at the beginning of the year. District leaders says things should be sorted out in Cobb by the end of next week.

    Next Up: