Clayton Co parents blame bus drivers for kids missing school breakfast

Students miss breakfast due to late buses
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 6:56 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Some children are missing out on the most important meal of the day because of late bus drivers, according to parents in Clayton County.

Tamesha Sherrer, a mother of a 5th-grade student at Kemp Elementary, said the bus arrived up to 40 minutes late. Not only are kids late to school – they also lose access to the district’s full breakfast meal.

“I want an explanation,” said Sherrer. “She’s starving when she comes home.”

Information from the Clayton County School District website says school meal components include protein, grain, fruit, and milk. Sherrer said her daughter has received the full meal three or four times since the year began.

But her daughter’s typical school breakfast doesn’t line up with the district’s guidance.

“She only gets a granola bar and juice. She hasn’t had the hot breakfast – not even the cereal and piece of fruit and juice and milk like she’s supposed to have,” said Sherrer.

The district attributed late arrivals to a bus driver shortage.

“Like many school systems, we continue to be impacted by the nationwide bus driver and workforce shortage that has caused a delay in our transportation services,” said a district spokesperson.

The district also said “meals are made available if a delay extends beyond the designated breakfast time,” but did not expand on what these meals include.

However, missing meals are just part of the problem. Sherrer explained the drive to and from campus isn’t a smooth ride.

Last week, Sherrer said she observed her daughter’s bus driver passed the bus stop and refused to let kids off while yelling at the kids. She said she heard the driver tell kids on the bus, “sit down, shut up.”

Sherrer’s daughter also said the driver used explicit language directed at the children.

Sherrer’s attempt to resolve the problem directly with the driver escalated.

“I told her I’m going to call the Department of Transportation. She then flips me off, closes the door, and pulls off,” said Sherrer.

Clayton County School District tells CBS46 that the incident and alleged perpetrator are under review.

“Clayton County Public Schools has been made aware of allegations involving inappropriate behavior by a member of our transportation staff. This matter is currently being investigated internally by the leaders of our Transportation Department and will be addressed as appropriate based on the investigation results,” said a district spokesperson.

Sherrer said she had not heard back from the district, despite reaching out to the Department of Transportation one week ago.

“The fact that the transportation department didn’t even return my call last week about the complaint about the substitute driver is even more alarming,” she said. “If they’re not fighting, yelling, and jumping around the bus – let them be. They’re kids. It’s elementary school.”

Despite the problems and bus driver shortage, the district said it has not relaxed its hiring expectations. Sherrer said the district should enforce tougher interviews and application process for the people responsible for children five days a week.