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Parents Speak Out Against Bus Company

Parents of a girl who went unaccounted for at the beginning of the school year addressed the Newport School Committee during Tuesday night's meeting.

Bus company First Student could be on the chopping block after the Newport school system received complaints from parents that students were not on the correct bus or accounted for. The complaints have prompted the Newport School Committee to seriously question First Student's services. 

John and Michelle Brennan, parents of a kindergarten student at Underwood Elementary School, are not happy with First Student after their daughter went unaccounted for two days in a row at the beginning of the school year. 

The Brennans addressed the Newport School Committee during Tuesday night's meeting to vent their frustrations with certain staff members of the bus company.

The couple, who took to the podium with a framed picture of their daughter, said they were not condemning all bus drivers and aids that work on for the company. The Brennans said they had had excellent service in the past from their bus drivers and monitors. 

The problem, they said, was the process to make sure students are accounted for had been flawed.

“There was a communication break down with First Student,” he said. “The school bus system failed, it wasn't helping the drivers.”

John Brennan said his phone calls to First Student were taken lightly and went unanswered.

“If we're dealing with. . .students, we shouldn't be dealing with a company as incompetent as First Student,” Brennan said.

School Committee Chairman Patrick Kelly said since First Student's contract runs out this year, the school committee has the opportunity to hire a new company.

“I don't know if [First Student] will get any support from the people sitting her,” School Committee member Jo Eva Gaines said. “I hope they don't even bother [reapplying].”

 

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