Wake County Schools

Wake officials investigate after video shows students standing on overcrowded bus

Posted September 13, 2016 6:52 p.m. EDT
Updated September 13, 2016 10:35 p.m. EDT

— Wake County Public Schools System administrators said Tuesday that they are investigating bus overcrowding at Broughton High School after video obtained by WRAL News showed a bus was so packed that students were forced to stand in the aisles.

Cellphone video taken by a student shows a standing-room-only crowd of teenagers on Broughton High's No. 4 bus route, which 17-year-old Alan Campos said is typical for that route.

"Three kids in a seat, four kids in a seat, they have kids standing up," Campos said. "That's dangerous."

State law prohibits school buses from moving while students are standing, and it caps the number of high school students on any bus at 48.

School district spokeswoman Lisa Luten said that the No. 4 bus had 52, 57 and 58 students riding it on three afternoons last week.

"It came to our attention last week that some students were riding the Route 4 bus when they had, in fact, had been assigned to another route. This caused Route 4 to be over-capacity," Luten said.

"Safety is always our primary concern, which is why the report of a bus operating over-capacity is very concerning," she said. "Our bus drivers are the first and last point of contact for our students. They are committed to providing a safe transition to and from school. Bus drivers receive safety training several times a year. We have taken action this afternoon to reiterate these important safety procedures."

Broughton High student Ariel Lopez said drivers "are not really that focused on how many kids are getting on the bus."

Students said anyone left behind once the bus pulls out sometimes have to wait hours at school for another bus, or they must ask friends or parents for rides home. So, they try to get on if they can.

Campos said he doesn't feel safe riding the overcrowded bus "because I never know what's going to happen in the road."

An assistant principal was on the No. 4 bus Tuesday afternoon to monitor the number of students riding, and it was below capacity, Luten said.