Bus pick-up, drop-off issues continue as Guilford County Schools works to address bus driver shortage

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HIGH POINT, N.C. — Shannell Lowe spent Friday afternoon at home with her son, but not by choice.

“I’m home because he stayed home,” Lowe said.

Lowe says her 13-year-old middle schooler’s bus was running late. They were notified, but it still didn’t show up at the later time given to them.

“We went inside because it was about 20-23 degrees this morning,” Lowe said.

They waited in the doorway, with a clear view of the stop, but say the bus just drove right by.

“Never yielded or anything, she just kept going,” Lowe said.

Lowe doesn’t have a car, so her son couldn’t get to Southwest Middle School.

In an email, the transportation director for Guilford County Schools admitted mistakes were made. He said the bus driver should have stopped because he or she was late. He also said the driver’s supervisor should have sent them back after Lowe called in to complain.

“This is his third time I believe that he’s actually missing school because of the bus,” Lowe said. “The bus has been late picking him up, an hour to two hours, and late getting him home in the evenings, two or three hours. It’s affecting his rest and schoolwork.”

FOX8 sat down with Jeff Harris, the transportation director for GCS, earlier this week to talk about some of the issues they’ve been having.

Harris said that on any given day they are about 50 bus drivers short across the county. To try to get more people behind the wheel, he is starting a new tutoring session so more applicants interested in the job pass the state’s bus driver exam.

“When they first started seeing themselves losing drivers, they could’ve put something in place then,” Lowe said. “Now, it’s hitting the fan.”

Lowe also says she is frustrated with the lack of communication. Sometimes she doesn’t know where her son is when the bus is late coming home.

GCS is working on a system that would scan students coming on and off the bus so parents can track them. Right now, there is no date for when that new system will roll out.

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