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Safety concerns after photo surfaces of Hopkins children packed onto a school bus

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HOPKINS, Mich. - A photo taken on a school bus in Hopkins was posted to Facebook Friday morning, showing kids squeezed together like sardines.  Several parents are now raising safety concerns/

The photo was taken by a student during a bus ride to the Hopkins Vocational Technical Program. Many kids are sitting three to a seat, while others are sitting in the aisles and covering up emergency exits.

We asked The Hopkins Superintendent, Gary Wood, 'Have the students been piling on the bus like this since the beginning of the school year?'

"Yeah, I guess," said Wood. "Since they all have to get on the bus to go to the tech center."

Despite how packed the bus seems in the photo with 62 children riding on it, the maximum capacity for is 77 children.

Wood said he was unaware of this ongoing problem.

"If it’s been going on, I wasn’t aware of it," said Wood.

Jon Tew, Hopkins Transportation Supervisor, said he's been aware of the issue since the beginning of the school year.

"I mean the reality of it right now is that we’ve done a lot of budget cuts in the last year and to add another bus was something I was trying not to do."

Hopkins cut two bus routes last year and adding another bus will cost $7,000.

Tew apologized for not communicating with Wood about how packed the buses have been, which is something Wood wants to fix.

"We wanna make sure our kids are safe and we’ll do what it takes when we transport them," said Wood.

FOX 17 is going to stay on top of this story to let you know what changes are made to the school's transportation policy.

 

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8 comments

  • Anastasia peterke

    This is a problem everywhere. The bus design hasn’t changed, But our society has. Kids are bigger. And many are obese. And 77 kids is too vague. Is it designed to fit 77 high school boys? Or 77 kindergartners? Huge difference. If their butts don’t fully fit on a seat forward facing, then they don’t fit on the bus!

  • Linda

    Thank you for bringing this problem to everyone’s attention. I questioned my Hopkin’s high school students about this and found out that this also happens when the high school and middle school run at the same cross country meet. It also happened when the 8th graders went to Western Michigan on a field trip. I’m very upset that this has been going. I can’t believe I did know before it hit the news. Disappointed in my self for not knowing about this. I will be watching and speaking up now.

  • Lindsay

    I as well as Adam graduated in 2013 and when I took the bus to tech we had this issue. Us students talked to Mr. Tew about the problem and our principle. We were always just told to deal with it and that they were working on the problem… Hopkins was a great school but it has gone down hill and even though it’s a small town there’s still a lot of kids and all the money that Hopkins tried to get from Gun Lake went to Wayland and Allegan which are way bigger than Hopkins. So there’s a lot of things that I’ve heard about this whole situation…

  • crowdedbythemasses

    Maybe another solution would be to get the NTSB to re-evaluate the max capacity of these buses and impose harsh fines to school districts who violate them. This should also be done with mass transit buses as well. In Grand Rapids, when the schools let out, it gets to standing room only and even then, they still cram more and more people into them. It is getting to be more about the dollar than the safety of the people on the buses. This isn’t just a small school district buses, its all over.

  • Concerning

    I’m not familiar with Hopkins, but what about working with surrounding districts to see if they can ride-share. I’m sure it would have a price tag attached, but when it comes to safety of students, it shouldn’t matter. If the bus is rated for 77, it likely means elementary/kindergarteners. You can’t possibly put 3 adults (high school students) in a seat, forward facing, with their butts properly/fully on the seat. Not gonna happen. Seeing kids packed in like that is troublesome! Worst case scenario, the bus is in an accident/rolls over – then what? The students are flying around the bus because they’re in the aisle and not properly in a seat. I’m sure injuries (or worse, loss of life) cost more than $7,000 – if we’re putting price tags on things.

  • Emma Rose Mccomber

    Im a hopkins middel school student and I want to say that kids are sitting 4 to a set somtimes and in the Isles and on peoples laps cus theres just not anuf room and it affects us in school some kids are clasterfobic like me but ever one gets strested out some times late theres a bus that gets to school 20min late every day and we are just so strested out and have low temper amd are hot and not to menchen how unsanitary it is because we’re so close one kid was sick one time and then after the bus ride 20 people were sick because of how closely we were put and we lose or temper wich coses bad grades and bullying and its not getting better its getting worse.

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