PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Parents are demanding answers after they say some school children were left out in the cold temperatures this morning waiting for their school bus in the East Hills.
The bus was due to arrive at 7:37 a.m., but the driver didn’t pull up until 8:30 a.m., and then told the kids they could not get on. Instead, he said he would be back, but parents say he never returned.
“I was about to get on the bus,” said 9-year-old Isaiah Owens, one of the students. “He said, ‘You’re not allowed to get on the bus.’ He told us that he’s going to pick us right up when he got back. I said, ‘Why are you going?’ Then, he just shut the door.”
Owens was one of the eight elementary school children waiting for the school bus.
First Student Bus was supposed to take them from the East Hills to Colfax School in Squirrel Hill.
One of the parents told KDKA’s Brenda Waters that she could see the kids standing at the bus stop from her window. When she felt they had been here to long, she came to get them.
Waters: “So the kids were stranded?”
“The kids were stranded,” said Helen Owens, a parent. “There was a couple of the kids that couldn’t get back home to their houses because their parents already left for work, so my neighbor and I, we allowed them to come.”
Without cars, Owens and her neighbor, Trina Woods, had no choice but to keep their children home.
Helen Owens: “This was not the first time that this has happened.”
Waters: “Same bus driver?”
Helen Owens: “Same bus driver.”
Both Owens and Woods say they have reached out to First Student, the Pittsburgh School District and the board, but have gotten no results.
A spokesperson for the school district did respond to the morning incident.
Ebony Pugh says First Student had problems with several buses due to the cold weather. Pugh also says the bus driver did return to pick up the students, but they were no longer waiting.
The matter is now under investigation.
Woods thinks the East Hills community should be more involved.
“We do got a clubhouse and we do got a community center, and if there’s any problems where the kids cannot get back into their house, they should be able to go to one of those places,” said Woods.
Another local parent says she is petitioning the Pittsburgh School Transportation Department to implement a rule requiring bus and van companies to contact parents when late.