Fort Worth ISD to add GPS trackers to buses after multiple kids dropped off in wrong neighborhoods

Fort Worth ISD has agreed to spend about $80,000 to provide GPS trackers on school buses.

However, it comes as a cold comfort to a group of parents who say their kids have been repeatedly dropped off in the wrong neighborhoods.

In a few days, FWISD will enter into an agreement with T-Mobile to activate GPS trackers on district buses and vehicles. It comes a week and a half after seven children were left at a stop a half-mile away from where they were supposed to be dropped off.

You can hear the frustration Gloria Williams’ voice, a mom of two Daggett Elementary School students dropped off at the wrong bus stop after school on Sept 16. She was at home while her 12-year-old daughter, Cielo Vaca, walked around the corner to pick up her 8 and 9-year-old sisters.

"One of the parents got a call saying they dropped them off over there.," Cielo said.

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Meaning a half mile away in a completely different neighborhood.

"I was confused, so I ran over there with her," Cielo said.

A total of seven kids panicked about how to get home.

"All the kids were crying," Cielo said.

Williams along with other parents say they want answers about how the mix-up could have happened.

"This is unacceptable," said parent Isobel Garcia-Arreola. "The response I’m getting is ‘I’m short-staffed.’ I don’t wanna hear it. My kid needs to be taken care of. Her safety is number one."

But when Garcia-Arreola tried to play a video of the crying children at Tuesday night’s school board meeting, her microphone was turned off.

"Ma'am, our rules don’t allow for that," one board member told her. "But we can definitely talk to you afterwards."

Williams and the other parents were taken to a separate room where the new Superintendent Dr. Angelica Ramsey assured them she would look into the incident.

"I was mad," Williams said. "I started screaming, and I was like ‘Of course, you’re gonna turn the mic off because those aren’t your kids. This doesn’t affect you in any way.’"

Later in the meeting, the board approved an $80,000 agreement with T-Mobile to activate GPS trackers on district buses and vehicles.

District documents say the goal is to make transportation more efficient, but no further details were provided.

It’s unclear who will be monitoring the trackers and whether parents will have access to the information.

Regardless, Williams says it’s up to the district to ensure the mix-up never happens again.

"Our solution is some kind of media communication, a Facebook page, something," she said.

Last week, the school district addressed the incident saying it had plans to add "technical enhancements throughout" the fleet and that they were "working with transportation staff to strengthen consistency in cross-training." But they did not provide additional details.