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School buses crowded as year starts
The Glynn County School System says it's still working out the kinks that usually accompany the start of a new school year, but progress may be too slow for at least one parent.

Darlene Boggs says her children - one a student at Jane Macon Middle School and the other a sophomore at Brunswick High School - have been riding on overcrowded buses since the new school year started Aug. 9.

"For the first four days of school, my children were standing up on the bus going to school," Boggs said. "They were telling me they were having to stand up because there weren't any seats."

Marty Simmons, transportation director for the school system, says state guidelines for bus capacity are followed, but it always takes a few days at the beginning of the school year to adjust to a new group of students and their needs.

"The drivers turn in a count daily for the first two weeks, and we monitor those counts... (to see) if we can change the bus assignment and alleviate that problem," Simmons said.

State rules allow buses to be filled to 10 percent over capacity, Simmons said, but capacity can vary depending on the size of students. A 72-passenger bus, for example, can accommodate 72 elementary school pupils.

"When we look at students that are adult-size, that number gets lowered to 57 or so," Simmons said.

Having to stand up is not the only problem. Boggs said her children also have witnessed arguments and fights on the bus.

She feels an extra pair of eyes is needed to help maintain control while drivers focus on the road and their driving.

"I believe there should be some monitors on the buses or parent volunteers - something," Boggs said.

The school system has monitors. About 22 are employed fulltime to assist bus drivers who transport students with special needs. Another 24 monitors, some of whom are part time, are assigned to the system's other buses.

Monitors may be assigned to buses that have disruptive students or if a bus driver needs help keeping students safe, Simmons said.

"If the driver can't drive safely and control the bus we assign a bus monitor," Simmons said.

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