Parents expressed concern at Monday's Northport-East Northport Board of Education meeting that some contracted buses seem overcrowded.
The contracted buses going to private schools have a listed capacity of 18 adults or 20 children, and ignore the fact that some high school children are the size of fully-grown adults, said parents. They worry that the situation may be a safety issue.
"My son is only 15 and he's six feet tall," said Lauren Gorman, whose son takes a bus to St. John the Baptist School in Islip. She added that the density of students on the bus may be a hazard, especially during highway travel.
"They're all high school students and they're all this size," said another parent. "So if you see a four-window bus or a five-window bus you have to imagine yourself on that bus."
School Transportation Supervisor Trish McGrane said students up to 18 years of age are considered to be children, regardless of size and that the contracting companies are within their contractual rights to fill the bus according to DOT guidelines.
Buses are available in 16, 20, 22, and 28 capacities, said McGrane, and the contractor chooses the bus size based upon the number of children utilizing it. Seatbelts must be available for the capacity listed on the bus.
McGrane said she will look further into the situation this week.
Do you think contracted private school buses are overcrowded? How about the district buses?
Tell us in the comments.