WRIGHT TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Parents of students who attend St. Jude's Elementary in Luzerne County are concerned for their children's wellbeing. They tell us a change to bus transportation to and from school puts their safety at risk.
The Crestwood School District is using a new bus company this year, and the acting superintendent tells us it was that change that caused the district to look at ways of making busing more efficient.
This year, primary students from St. Jude's Elementary will be riding the same bus as high school students who go to Crestwood. Parents are upset about the change, but the district says safety is their primary concern.
Mark Kurlandski recently learned that his daughters in first and third grade at St. Jude's in Mountain Top will share a bus with Crestwood High School students. He's not happy about it.
"I have a lot of concerns about safety, about what's going to be discussed, what's going on on these buses. My children are very young, and I don't let them watch certain things on shows, let alone what could be talked about on these buses," Kurlandski said.
The solicitor for the Crestwood School District tells Newswatch 16 until this year, St. Jude's was the only nonpublic school with its own bus schedule in the district. Now St. Jude's will be treated like all of the other nonpublic schools in the district with merged busing.
"The model as why we are doing this now, we are looking at making our runs as efficient as possible. We feel that we can still provide the same high-quality transportation services, and we have a proven track record of success," said Crestwood acting superintendent Joseph Rasmus.
Rasmus says the concerns of parents will be addressed.
"As a parent myself, I can understand why there may be some concerns, so we are discussing with our contractor G. Davis about separating those students and potentially assigning elementary students to the front of the bus and ensuring that there is a reasonable distance from the secondary students."
St Jude's Elementary says it has been getting a lot of calls from upset parents and sent Newsatch 16 this statement.
"The Crestwood School District determined the routes and timing without consultation from the school itself or the Diocese of Scranton."
"We'll just have to avoid busing the girls altogether. Take them ourselves before work, whatever, just so that they're safe. We really don't want them with the older kids," Kurlandski said.
The Crestwood School District says any parents with questions or concerns can email the district's transportation department.