THE INVESTIGATORS: New bus issued after mother complains about special needs bus that picks up her kids

THE INVESTIGATORS: New bus issued after mother complains about special needs bus that picks up her kids
Jessica Groves says each year, there have been issues with the special needs bus. (Source: WAFB)

LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Back to school is supposed to be an exciting time for students and parents, but Jessica Groves says the first four days back in Livingston Parish have been a bumpy ride.

Special needs bus replaced after mother expresses concerns

“They know all the problems they’ve been having with these buses over the years,” said Groves.

Jessica Groves wants her wheelchair-bound children to be able to ride the bus to school.
Jessica Groves wants her wheelchair-bound children to be able to ride the bus to school. (Source: WAFB)

Every day of the new school year, she tells WAFB she has faced one issue after another. Her two kids use wheelchairs and the mother says the special needs bus that picks them up is plagued with problems.

“Either the door gets stuck on the lift or the lift is not working at all and no power to it,” said Groves. “It’s just something every day.”

On top of that, she says she regularly has to wait on the bus and more often than not, all that waiting ends up with a phone call letting her know they are running behind. The last straw, she says, is when she ended up taking the kids up to the school when the lift just would not cooperate.

Jessica Groves' two children are both in wheelchairs and need to ride the special needs bus to school.
Jessica Groves' two children are both in wheelchairs and need to ride the special needs bus to school. (Source: WAFB)

“I hate to see them go through all this and not understand why they can’t get on the bus and why I have to take them to school,” said Groves.

Fed up and frustrated, she reached out to the school system to get answers, especially after hearing Livingston Parish got new buses this school year. After WAFB called the school system, we were told they were looking into the issue. The following is the full statement from Delia Taylor, spokesperson for the school system.

“There was a mechanical issue with the lift on the bus that was brought to our attention. We have since addressed the problem and should be back on track. Yesterday was the only day that we are aware that the mother had to take her child to school due to the issue. We take extra care to maintain our fleet to ensure our buses are up to the quality that our parents and students deserve. Of the 22 new buses that we were able to bring online this year, two of them are special needs buses, and we will continue to upgrade our fleet moving forward.”

The Livingston Parish School System acknowledges there was a mechanical issue with the wheelchair lift of the special needs bus.
The Livingston Parish School System acknowledges there was a mechanical issue with the wheelchair lift of the special needs bus. (Source: WAFB)

Wednesday afternoon, one of those news buses dropped off Groves’ kids.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked the mother if she was surprised.

“Yes, because it was a different bus,” she answered.

She just hopes it’s permanent and not just a quick fix.

“Hopefully it works good and we don’t have problems like we’ve been having,” said Groves.

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