OUR OPINION: Buses Should Arrive On Time


Breakfast—it’s the most important meal of the day, especially for high school students. For some students, however, there is one thing standing in the way of this oh-so-important meal: a yellow, diesel-powered behemoth. Unfortunately, because not all buses arrive at their scheduled time, some students are forced to run with their fuel gauges on empty until the bell rings for lunch.

And in a school with over 90 percent of students receiving free and reduced lunch benefits, that fact is unacceptable.

Bus route specialist Terri Foster said school buses should be arriving on campus at least 20 minutes prior to the first bell. For weeks, students have noted this is not the case.

So, how bad is the late bus problem, really?

In a one day study conducted by members of the oakridgemedia.org staff on Tuesday, Sept. 24, only two buses arrived at least 20 minutes before the bell, while 19 arrived after 6:50 a.m. and before 7 a.m. The rest showed up in between 7 a.m. and 7:05 a.m.

What’s even worse is that for many students forgoing the free breakfast provided, the last meal they ate was the free lunch they received on campus the previous day. A study released in February underscored the importance of breakfast and its correlation with success in school, finding that daily breakfast increased attendance and meant students were 20 percent more likely to continue on and graduate high school.

In a school battling many issues such as a transient population and a high second-language-learners population, we think any help we can get with our graduation rate, even in the form of breakfast, is a good thing.

The timeliness of school buses may not seem all that important, but it is. Many students, like senior Adrianna Davis, said the only way they can cram in a quick school breakfast is by sacrificing her timeliness to first period.

And the fact that the deans have cracked down on tardies doesn’t help the situation either.

Bus riders aren’t the only ones suffering. With an overwhelming amount of empty seats, teachers like digital video production teacher Jenevieve Jackson say she’s lucky to have six kids physically sitting in their seats when the late bell rings at 7:10 a.m.

This should raise many eyebrows considering how hard our administrative team and faculty has worked to pull up Oak Ridge’s achievement over the last few years. Teachers unable to start instruction on time for first period means all students, even those who don’t ride the bus, are going to suffer.

The solution seems simple. It’s time to contact the transportation office and let them know the future success of our students and our school is literally riding on the fact that buses arrive to school on time. If bus drivers like Pedro Velez are ok with the longer hours if it means more pay, then it seems like the solution is a win-win for everyone.