Pictures of apparent overcrowding on Denham Springs school bus raise concerns over safety

Pictures of apparent overcrowding on Denham Springs school bus raise concerns over safety
The assistant superintendent says 45 to 50 students were put on this bus after a driver called in sick. The maximum capacity for the bus is 60. (Source: Crystal Wells)

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WAFB) - Pictures of a cramped school bus full of Denham Springs High School students has left parents wondering why so many students were on the bus and if it was safe.

Livingston Parish Assistant Superintendent Steve Parrill says the bus had roughly 45 to 50 students aboard. The capacity for that bus is 60. He says at no point were the students in any danger.

“With their booksacks, purses, musical instruments, it was crowded,” Parrill said.

He says the bus in question was combined with another bus after a driver called out sick. According to the school district, it does not have enough bus drivers to cover when another driver is absent.

“When you put 40 to 50 people on the bus, it’s a lot of people and not a big space, and it’s important that everyone cooperate and play nice when on the bus as well,” he said.

Livingston Parish school officials are trying to address concerns about overcrowding on school buses.
Livingston Parish school officials are trying to address concerns about overcrowding on school buses. (Source: Crystal Wells)
(Source: Crystal Wells)

The district has tried to hire more bus drivers, however, those attempts have been unsuccessful because no one wants the job.

“It’s a part time job. They’re considered five hour employees for us and that’s just not enough for people that need full time work," Parrill said.

The job does come with full benefits though, including health insurance and a retirement package, but the pay is not great. Parrill says the drivers only make around $18 per hour.

He says that problem could potentially be resolved if the state would delegate more money for raises.

“If the state would throw us a little bit more money, you know, that would definitely help things. I mean, I hate to say it, but money solves a lot of problems,” Parrill said.

Livingston Parish is trying to hire more bus drivers.
Livingston Parish is trying to hire more bus drivers. (Source: WAFB)

The legislature did allocate money for raises during its previous session. Parrill says that money was just a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed.

The district is currently seeking bus drivers. Anyone interested in applying should contact the school district.

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