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Safety Concern with Overcrowded Buses - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Safety Concern with Overcrowded Buses

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This picture, which surfaced on Facebook earlier this week, has some parents speaking out. This picture, which surfaced on Facebook earlier this week, has some parents speaking out.

     Some parents in the northern Valley are concerned about the safety of their children on the school bus after a picture surfaced showing students sitting four to a seat and squatting in the aisle, and that's when they called us for help. Valley News Team's Brandon Clark talked to the Drayton Public School District about the picture and asked why this was allowed to happen.

      This picture, taken by a Drayton County Public School student earlier this week, has gotten the attention of some parents. The mother of the girl who took the photo didn't want to appear on camera but says this is something that has happened quite a bit.

     The school district superintendent has a different opinion. He says this isn't a regular occurrence: "we had a couple incidences where people had parties, didn't notify us in advance," admitted Hy Schlieve, superintendent of the Drayton Public School District, "so the regular bus wasn't situated."

     Yet Schlieve says overcrowding only happens when parents don't notify the school about extra riders; if the school is notified, a larger bus is used.

Schlieve: "Part of the responsibility rests with parents and keeping us informed."

     The fact that kids have had to ride on the floor just once, though, is most concerning to parents. "I just don't think it's acceptable," said one anonymous mother, and the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction backs her up, quoting regulations which state that the number of children assigned to a vehicle shall not exceed the capacity designated by the manufacturer.

     While the school district is looking into how to prevent further instances of overcrowding like this one, the anonymous mother says that since extra buses are always available, she stands by her words: "[I] couldn't believe that such a school [...] that has available to them so much would allow the children to sit on the floor."

      The North Dakota Highway Patrol says there are no laws prohibiting more than two or three people to a seat, however it will follow up on overcrowding concerns and forward them to the Department of Public Instruction if necessary.

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