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Wareham School Buses Overcrowded?

***UPDATE*** 4:05 Thursday, September 12, 2013
As of this morning, Wareham has split this bus into two…one for middle school students…one for the high school. Mr. Tavares has noted that although the crowded bus issue has been solved for his daughter, he believes there are still Wareham buses that are too crowded.
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We received a photo from a parent who was concerned that Wareham Public Schools may have a problem with overcrowding on their school buses. Perry Tavares of Wareham says his daughter took the photo (below) yesterday morning on her bus ride into Wareham High School. Tavares says the bus driver yelled at the kids to make room by sitting on someone’s lap. We called Jeff Tatro, Wareham’s transportation manager, but his office told me that they were referring all calls about the crowded bus to the Superintendent’s office.

Wareham’s Superintendent of Schools, Kimberly Shaver-Hood, told us that they have not received any complaints about overcrowding on Wareham’s school buses. While she did say that she was reviewing the number of students that are on the buses, she emphasized that the review was “absolutely not” a reaction to the photo that she had seen circulating on Facebook. Shaver-Hood stressed that much like class sizes and many other aspects of school operations, reviewing the number of students on buses is a standard procedure…particularly at the beginning of the school year.

I asked if she could understand why a parent of a child on the crowded bus (pictured) might be concerned. She said that she could understand concern if the parent didn’t have a background in education.

There are too many factors. Was the bus in motion at the time the photo was taken? What kinds of arrangements were made with the bus driver? Were there any empty seats at the front of the bus…and if so…could the students be moved up there? –Wareham Superintendent of Schools, Kimberly Shaver-Hood

Shaver-Hood stressed that her primary concern is to make sure every child is safe, and that the number of students on each bus will be reviewed with the bus company. She also expressed regret that she did not see the photo before it appeared on Facebook. She encourages all parents that have questions or concerns to pick up the phone and call her office. She can also be reached by email: kshaver-hood@wareham.k12.ma.us.

When I told Perry Tavares that the Superintendent told me her office hadn’t received any complaint calls he said, “That’s a damn lie. We gave the picture to my brother in law on the school committee, Kenny Fontes. Even the school resource officer told her she should add another bus to the route. She knows all about it. He (Fontes) has a meeting with her tomorrow.”

Perry Tavares

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