The first day of school started off rocky for some Mesquite ISD students and parents when the school bus never showed.
It turns out the district canceled a bus route. And while a letter about that went out in June, not every family got it.
Some students at McKenzie Elementary had to walk to school at the last minute because their bus never showed. The mile or so walk may be part of a new routine.
One parent who goes by Lisa doesn’t want her face shown, but she does want Mesquite ISD to know what she and other families at the Churchill Crossing Apartments are going through.
“It’s very dangerous for the children to cross the road here,” she said.
Lisa says the morning started with about 30 kids from the complex waiting for buses that never showed up.
“As a single mother, it’s extremely difficult because I had everything planned out,” she said. “And then I get this at the last minute.”
Lisa’s two fourth grade children got rides to McKenzie Elementary School. But she says other kids took off on their own and crossed six lanes of busy Gus Thomasson Road on the one-mile walk.
Districts are only required by the state to provide buses for students living two miles away from school or more.
“It was very concerning to me because they were so little,” Lisa said. “It’s an elementary school so you can imagine the children must have been 5 or 6 years of age.”
The district says a letter went out to parents in June explaining the bus route had been cancelled. But after FOX 4 inquired why the letters were never received, a clearer picture emerged.
“We can only apologize that there was a software error,” said Mesquite Spokesperson Laura Jobe. “And they actually did not receive those letters.”
But for Lisa, the lack of notification is only part of the problem.
“All these years there’s been a bus route here because this was considered a dangerous intersection. Now all of a sudden it’s not considered hazardous?” she asked.
“We implemented these criteria,” Jobe said. “And under this new set of criteria, this route did not meet the level to be considered hazardous.”
A district spokeswoman says new criteria and new software that helps determine bus route efficiency deemed the route safe for walkers even though it was considered hazardous in the past. But she says they’re still evaluating the routes and may be looking to the city for help with a crossing guard.
“There is a crosswalk with a light, and so we believe it does provide safety for our students who are crossing,” Jobe said. “But there is no crossing guard, as you mentioned, and that is something that the city actually covers.”