Voice of the people: Lisa Tentoni Freeman




Concerned for students on county buses


I have major concerns about the Lowndes County school bus situation, which I voiced to the superintendent two years ago. Seeing my daughter come home drenched in sweat from the school bus recently reminded me of the issues Mr. Wright and I discussed. The first agenda I brought up is the overcrowding. The rule is three children per seat -- three HUGE back packs and three children to a seat. My child has been that third child only to fit halfway on the seat, and they are pushed in aisle as the drivers make a turn at times. Getting up to adjust herself properly, she is hollered at "No standing in the aisle!" There has been a time or two she just sat on the floor in between both aisles of seats until some children got off and left spaces. Now that is safety for you! Rising student population is also causing the routes to get longer. My daughter rides anywhere from one hour to an hour and fifteen minutes for her transit. What makes this so horrible and brings me to my next complaint is the fact her bus provides no air conditioning. Heat indexes up to 105-110 (or more) with no air conditioner makes this ridiculous and a health hazard. I'm happy she is not in elementary school, as that group is put on the buses first and made to wait for the middle and high school students to board. That wait may be 10-15 minutes, but on a non-moving bus with no AC, it is hard to tolerate. There should be no reason for all this. They are constructing new buildings constantly but they have no money for proper busing.


As I stated earlier, I called our superintendent of Lowndes County (two years ago) and, of course, any complaints were dismissed as they were not something of importance. I was told by him, he rode the bus as a kid and he did not have any problems, so what is the problem now? I told him I rode the bus as well with no issues. He states he did not have an air conditioner. I did not as well. I am in my 50's, and I am not stating this man's age, but we did not have the heat we experience now. I never remember riding a bus with heat indexes we have now. To add to the difference, our routes were not long-30 minutes was considered a longer route. We were two-to-a-seat too. We did not have all the paraphernalia to carry like our children do now either. I asked him why do some buses have air and others do not. I was told the athletes had to have air conditioning so they would not get overheated traveling to away games. Imagine that. At least some of the children have air conditioning if they ride a bus athletes use.



What our conversation boiled down to was the fact that we adults rode the buses back then and we were fine. The differences between then and now didn't matter to him. And to top it all off he said riding the bus is a "privilege" and there are no laws stating we have to use money for the list of things I am complaining about. Be lucky. She has a ride to school and back is what I am told. Needless to say I was a bit huffy and told him "Hell, you try riding the bus for a day in August." Shouldn't have done that. I was told the conversation had to end because he could not accept that type of foul language from me. How lucky this man is that I used the word "hell" only, for I am known for my Italian temper.


Lisa Tentoni Freeman






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