Parents question extra-early bus pickup time

Two parents have filed complaints with a school bus service over their children who have special needs  being left in the parking lot of their school nearly an hour before school opens.

The mothers say their sons are being picked up at 6 a.m. when the school bell doesn’t right until two hours later.

They want to know why and they want it to stop.

The mothers involved are Heather Webb and TyYeace Shelton. Webb’s son is 5 years old and Shelton’s is 7.

Their sons, whose disabilities are so great they cannot verbally communicate, ride a Dallas County Schools bus to William Anderson Elementary along with other special needs kids.

Webb recently recorded cell phone video that shows her questioning a Dallas County Schools bus driver about why the kids are being picked up so early.

“They're being picked up earlier than 6 o’clock in the morning to come to the school and be here before 7, literally 6:45 in the morning, to sit in the parking lot until the doors open at 7:30,” said Webb.

Documents given to the parents, who are neighbors, show the scheduled pick-up time.

“It has the child's pickup time at 7:24,” said Shelton.

Shelton says she's having to wake up her son at 5 a.m. to get him ready for school, which starts at 8 a.m.

“The bus driver actually knocked on my door this morning at 5:58 this morning,” said Shelton. “She picked him up yesterday at 6:05.”

Dallas County Schools would not go on camera with FOX 4, but in an email, a spokesperson said, "The safety of our students is our top priority and we will take every possible measure to lessen the amount of time students are on the bus.”

Shelton and Webb say that’s exactly what they want.

“They’re disabled children,” said Webb. “They can’t talk for themselves. If they are thirsty or anything or they have to go to the bathroom, they can’t just raise their hand. I mean, it’s not good.”

Dallas County Schools says when Webb reported the problem to the service center, immediately the route documentation and GPS records were reviewed.

What they discovered was that some students who were slated to be on the bus for that particular route weren’t on the bus, so the driver was finishing the route much sooner.

Starting Monday, the transportation company is adjusting the route time by delaying pick-up so that students should arrive at school around 7:30 a.m.