METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - Parents question why a Jefferson Parish private school isn't replacing old tires on a school bus after FOX 8 exposed the potential danger. Safety experts say the tires could pose a serious risk to students on the bus and to other motorists.
"For the amount of tuition Ridgewood parents pay, we should have better tires on our buses," said parent Kelley Chaplain.
Anger. That's one word to describe how some Ridgewood Preparatory School parents feel after a FOX 8 investigation revealed three tires on a school bus are almost 15 years old. The bus takes students from the K through 12 school, on field trips and the football team to games.
"It's about time to change it. It's not very safe especially with children on board," parent Robert Beck said.
The Tire Safety Group says conservatively, schools should remove all front bus tires after six years but under no scenario should a tire be on a bus longer than 10.
Tire Safety Group founder Matt Wetherington says, "A 14-year-old tire should not be on any vehicle, anywhere in America and in particular, not a school bus."
FOX 8 emailed and called Ridgewood Prep's headmaster several times before the first investigation aired but never heard back. On Wednesday, we went to the school, looking for answers.
Headmaster M.J. Montgomery, Jr. wouldn't speak to us on camera. He invited us into his office but said our entire discussion was off the record. The only thing we are allowed to say is that he has no comment on our story.
Hermene Anderson, who has a granddaughter at Ridgewood, says, "They're avoiding the issue because they don't know how to answer to it. That's the way I feel."
Some parents we spoke to say they plan on addressing the issue with headmaster Montgomery directly in the coming days.
I'll definitely be one of those parents to go into the office and check on it," Shevonda Thomas said.
Beck adds, "Definitely time to do something about it now that I know about it."
Tire experts say even if a tire appears to look ok from the outside, it's the inside that deteriorates first and you won't know that there's a problem until you're on the road and it's too late.