School Transportation (also see embedded items at PIST NYC on Facebook)
Reporter Melissa Russo interviewed the parents and broadcast the following report:
Public Advocate Letitia James, Students, School Advocates Join To Call On DOE To Provide Air Conditioning In All School Buses Transporting Special Needs Students
District 75 Student Ahjaah Jewett, Advocates Note That Some Special Needs Students Are Non-Verbal
(New York, NY)— On Friday, July 11, 2014, Public Advocate Letitia James was joined by special needs students, Parents to Improve School Transportation (PIST), and other school advocates in calling on the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to provide air conditioning in all school buses transporting special needs District 75 students, and to include such a provision in future contracts with busing companies.
New York City’s 23,000 District 75 students consist of some of the most vulnerable youth in our school system, including students on the autism spectrum and with severe disabilities. Some students are non-verbal or otherwise may be unable to communicate physical distress. The commute to their schools can span 2.5 hours daily depending on their location. Some District 75 parents have complained of their children arriving home sweating and overheated.
Ahjaah Jewett, 13, a District 75 student joined her mother in speaking on her experience on a hot, overcrowded school bus. After complaining numerous times about overheating to the bus driver, Ahjaah called 9-1-1 and was taken to a hospital for treatment. The Jewett family noted that drivers must be sensitive to communicating with children who are non-verbal or have uncommon speech patterns.
“We must do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our most vulnerable students. I join parents and school advocates in calling on the DOE to do a better job in overseeing their contracts with bus companies that do not comply with the NYC Administrative code. Too many parents state that they have called the DOE's Office of Pupil Transportation, yet the office has not been responsive to their concerns,” said New York City Public Advocate Letitia James.
“As the President of the Citywide District 75 Council, and a parent of two students who attend District 75 programs, I find it very reprehensible that students with and without disabilities find themselves on school buses that are not equipped with working air-conditioning units. This is simply not acceptable! Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) cannot accept the excuses of the bus company owners considering the amount of money being spent on contacts that service all NYC students. This needs to be rectified immediately and we look forward to hearing back from OPT on this matter,” said Gloria Corsino, President of Citywide Council for District 75.
“As this administration makes sweeping improvements in a number of areas, it is my hope that they will look closely into taking the necessary steps to provide air conditioning on school buses that service our most vulnerable students. As all New Yorkers know, it can be brutally hot during the summer months, especially in vehicles that have sat in the sun for hours. I echo our Public Advocate's request that the DOE look into this matter so that we keep our special needs students safe,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, District 10.
According to New York City Administrative Code, “Any bus or other motor vehicle transporting a child with a disability to and from a school in the city pursuant to any agreement or contract shall be air-conditioned when the ambient outside temperature exceeds seventy degrees Fahrenheit.”
March to April 2014
1) From 3/26/14:
[To quote our sister busing advocate Carin van der Donk:
Just one note: those delays mentioned are NOT caused by the bus drivers. Usually they are just as frustrated as the parents with the routes they are given. The delays are caused by buses that break down a lot, inept routing by OPT, over crowding, students from different school sharing a bus route and other such preventable reasons for delays.]
2) From 3/27/14:
[which shows some silent footage of the press conference before the hearings]
3) And in the city government video files from the hearings about busing on 3/27/14:
This one is over 2.5 hours long...the panels involving parents are around the 1:44 mark. The Deputy Chancellor in charge of OPT did not show her face but has a statement read beginning at minute 7.
The company owners did not attempt to defend their practices either.
4) Another article and video can be seen at http://laborpress.org/sectors/green-initiatives/3480-doe-mia-at-employee-protection-provision-hearing
November to December 2013
9 minute video of Dec 17 rally, Tish James responds to letter from parents
Article on Dec 17 rally, video available to subscribers
Dec 17 Quotes Sara of PIST
Dec. 19 page 2 of Daily News informs about OPT letter and ATU comments
Coverage of issue on 12/19 featuring Carin of Common Sense Busing and caring Matron
Start of School Year 2013-14
Sept 7 Article on letter from Attorney Norman Siegel to Chancellor Walcott with last year's complaint patterns: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/special-ed-parents-doe-fix-bus-fiasco-article-1.1448322
TV Oct. Office of Pupil Transportation inducted into the Hall of Shame http://www.myfoxny.com/category/233240/shame-shame-shame
TV Please follow the link here http://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/ to see major news coverage of four bus families shown Weds 10/2/13 (title-- I-Team: School Bus Headaches, length-- 4:05) and follow up story shown Thurs 10/3/13, in which the investigator questions Chancellor Walcott; interviews Norman Siegel; and gets comments from mayoral candidates (title-- I-Team: DOE Responds to Students Being Trapped on School Buses, length-- 5:48)
Regarding the contract negotiations:
Cartoon by PIST supporter Tony M on the ruling that said cutting wages of school bus employees this past Spring was an unfair labor practice:
The editorial text is here http://www.uft.org/editorials/bus-worker-cuts-nixed
Summer 2013 campaign vs. hot buses
http://thefilam.net/archives/12223 Queens parents demand air-conditioned buses for special needs children 8/9/13
http://thefilam.net/archives/11991 Mother fights City Hall for air-conditioned buses for special-needs children 7/10/13
PIST gets a little mention here
Ending of the strike (see below for coverage of parent attitudes during the strike)
LINKS TO SOME COVERAGE OF 2013 SCHOOL BUS STRIKE JAN. 14 TO FEB. 21
PIST Sara http://riverdalepress.com/stories/Parents-prepare-for-looming-bus-strike,51681
Jimmy from ATU, Sara from PIST on radio http://wbai.org/server-archive.html Select program Building Bridges and Date Jan 14, 2013, first 20 minutes
Parent blog http://capturingautism.com/2013/01/14/were-paying-school-bus-drivers-too-much-really/
Slide show of announcement of strike includes PIST and Common Sense Busing
PIST Sara and others on radio on January 16 http://www.wbai.org/articles.php?headline=School%20bus%20drivers%20in%20New%20York%20are%20off%20the%20job%20-%20fighting%20to%20protect%20their%20livelihoods
Comments including PIST Susan’s http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/175544/the-call-blog--day-one-of-school-bus-strike/
PIST Sara http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2013/01/16/bus-drivers-strike-disrupts-school-system
SPANISH LANGUAGE TV
“Other side of the coin: What do the drivers want?” http://univisionnuevayork.univision.com/videos/video/2013-01-16/la-otra-cara-de-la
2 ATU members http://univisionnuevayork.univision.com/noticias/aldespertar/video/2013-01-17/choferes-union-huelga-dudas-bloomberg
PIST Johnnie http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/17/nyc-school-bus-strike-second-day_n_2494529.html
ATU Henriot and CM Charles Barron http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/175566/union-members-rally-outside-brooklyn-bus-depot/
Coney island http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/175569/standoff-continues-through-school-bus-strike-s-second-day
PIST Susan http://www.thenation.com/blog/172222/nyc-bus-strike-kicks-fight-privatization-yellow-buses
Juan Gonzalez column http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/gonzalez-mayor-stop-blaming-bus-workers-article-1.1242198
PIST Milagros on TV http://univisionnuevayork.univision.com/videos/video/2013-01-18/tercer-dia-de-huelga-de
Parent article http://www.thenation.com/article/172288/good-matron-hard-find
PIST Kwame cartoon contest http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/18/kids-draw-the-news-bus-strike-comic-strip/
Drivers & Matrons are Parents Too video (8 min) http://youtu.be/RI0XoHUjzP4
The Chief coverage is getting better. Links only let you read first two paragraphs:
PIST press statement picked up http://www.workers.org/2013/01/17/nyc-school-bus-drivers-forced-to-strike-for-safety-security/
PIST Sharlene and JR on TV http://www.nbcnewyork.com/video/#!/news/local/Mother-of-4-Struggles-to-Get-Kids-to-School-During-Bus-Strike/187156541
Teacher speaks out on TV http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/School-Bus-Strike-New-York-Drivers-Union-Matrons-School-Students-187266821.html
Daily News finally something favorable http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/hamill-bus-drivers-unjustly-targeted-bloomberg-article-1.1243365?pgno=1
Coverage of Feb. 10 Brooklyn Bridge march and rally
Coverage of CCSE parent letter charging violation of rights http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/city-adhere-federal-act-mandating-transportation-disabled-students-article-1.1263449?pmSlide=0
Impact on disabled students, United Cerebral Palsy
End of strike http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/177104/school-bus-workers--union-votes-to-end-strike--drivers-to-return-to-work-wednesday
Parent article on exclusion of students with disabilities http://www.schoolbook.org/2013/02/21/bus-strike-took-huge-toll-on-special-needs-kids/
Blog from NYC Public School Parents featuring PIST statement also seen on this Home page.
Another issue we have with the new bid scheme. Unfortunately some commenters have the issue for the opposite reason (fear of people with disabilities)
Cable TV report on press conference responding to Mayor Bloomberg's 12/21 press statements & explaining how EPP = Safety
Radio report on press conference responding to Mayor Bloomberg's 12/21 press statements & explaining how EPP = Safety
Regarding another way that busing is important for equal educational opportunity, and how city is blaming union for its own failure to come through with a bus plan
Link to article on some of the problems of temporary busing after Hurricane Sandy
Link to article on use of charter buses for schools dislocated by Hurricane Sandy. Thanks Jill Colvin for the research and for including us. See Home page blog for more on this issue.
Link to NY 1 piece on Nov. 13, 2012 first day of temporary busing
Blog coverage of parent testimony at City Council Hearings
Video and article from 10/10/12 City Council Hearings
New York 1 article on Hearings with emphasis on contract issues
Only mainstream article in this set that mentions parents have busing organizations! Disclaimer from Sara: I can’t speak for my son but I am pretty sure he would not say he “suffers from” being exactly who he is. This goes to show that we need more awareness even from people whose intentions are good. By the way, after this article OPT added a route to 206.
Article by a PIST parent on the September 19 From Day One press conference
Education Reporter Art McFarland September 19 From Day One press conference, with PIST members and others
Early installment in a series instigated by our friend Crystal of New York City Parents Fed Up with Transportation Troubles!
Gen Ed bussing was restored due to community pressure, but some schools were kept out by a grandfather clause
(please wait for update from archives for 2011-12 school year; the next several are from 2010-11)
Daily News - Parents of special-needs kids furious at bus rides without A/C; complain to NYC, get shortened rides
ATU - Local 1181 and PIST
UFT - Educators denounce layoff threat as scare tactic
Examiner.com - NYC Dept of Education: Pupil Transportation Breach of a Duty of Reasonable Care
NY1 - Special Needs Preschooler Left Alone On School Bus
PIST - January 22 Meeting Press Release
SI Live - Legal bid to restore school buses continues
NY1 - Brooklyn School Bus Crash Injures 10
Ellen Mc Hugh - CCSE Public Meeting with Matthew Berlin, Director of OPT
InsideSchools.org - The wheels on the bus go round and round and round . . .
El Diario - Piden mejorar rutas de transporte escolar
NY Post - Special-ed bus-service outrage
NY1 - Parents Rally For Improved School Bus Service
Daily News - 'Abusive' bus rides: Long trip for special ed kids
Daily News - Special needs kids plagued by late buses, forcing them to miss first class of day sometimes
Workers World - PIST demands end to long bus routes
NY1 - Questions Remain About MTA's Blizzard Preparedness
Telemundo - En vigencia nuevas tarifas de MTA
Able New York - The Newspaper Positively for, by, and About the Disabled