Report on 10/16 Rally & Hearing re OPT
A diverse and lively group showed up to chant on the steps of 52 Chambers Street. There were school bus parents from every borough and parent leaders from CCHS, District 75, PIST, also a retired special educator and a retired transportation unionist.
Four or five media outlets showed up and took quotes (see coverage below) or filmed us chanting “O.P.T. Get the kids to school on time!” Then we marched over to the press conference about GPS and raised that the situation calls for applying more humanity, not just more technology.
City Hall was full! It was a reunion of the usual parents and special ed advocate groups/agencies, some new families with really sad stories, but also a few lawyer groups like New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and Legal Aid Society, and more talk of busing for students in the shelter and foster care system as well as students with disabilities, even environmental impact of emissions at the bus yards.
OPT announced a twitter account for accident updates and the like at https://mobile.twitter.com/nycschoolbuses or @nycschoolbuses
When asked if there is a shortage of drivers they did not say yes or no, just that ‘all routes are staffed’.
The full (5 hours long) video of the hearing is at https://councilnyc.viebit.com/player.php?hash=wNKSfjIE6uOJ
Some parts we would like to point out
Around 2:41- 2:46 they talk about turnover of drivers
2:53-2:55 PS 11 PTA Strategies for making sure young kids don’t exit bus at wrong stop
3:23-3:38 panel of legal advocates
4:00-4:12 Lori, Celia, Sara
4:33 Struggles of busing when parents at 2 addresses share custody of same child
5:05 the background checks that already happen
Ours is here http://www.pistnyc.org/pist-testimony-to-city-council-on-oct-16.aspx
It includes links to evidence that OPT has been told how to do this better, by parents, drivers, and other advocates, for years. We want a meeting with the Chancellor asap.
IncludeNYC’s is here http://www.includenyc.org/news/post/new-york-city-council-education-committee-oversight-hearing-on-does-office
There was some media coverage of the parents but mostly of Speaker Corey Johnson and new Education Committee Chair R. Treyger questioning the Chancellor and new appointee Kevin Moran.
CBS TV https://youtu.be/_J-4LehfKP0
Daily News (online was better than print edition) http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-metro-school-bus-horror-stories-and-possible-fixes-at-hearing-20181016-story.html
WNYC radio (but the audio was short so they did not link to it from the written piece here) https://www.wnyc.org/story/schools-chancellor-promises-better-yellow-bus-service/