LPS bus communication re-evaluated after parent concern

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A concern for Lawton Public Schools parents is knowing when their children will be picked up and dropped off by the school bus. Procedures are now being activated following one parent's complaints about late bus notifications.

"As a parent you freak out," LPS parent Beth Crabtree said.

Crabtree describes one of the first times her elementary school-aged daughter was late getting home from school.

"My daughter has a cell phone. She was nine at the time," Crabtree said. "She would message me 'Hey mom, we're late. The bus isn't here. What's going on?'"

Crabtree then calls the school for information, and she gets redirected to the Transportation Department where she can get information about the late bus.

But some days really worried Crabtree to the point of calling the police to find out where her daughter is.

"When she wasn't home, my daughter, after two hours," Crabtree recalled. "Thank god she had a cell phone. Because if she didn't?"

So last year Crabtree had a meeting with Lawton school officials to get some kind of communication set up, so she doesn't have to wonder why the bus her daughter is riding is late.

"I have a right to know," Crabtree said. "Not only do I have a right, every parent has the right to know where their kid is and When they are getting home."

Assistant Superintendent Barbara Ellis says the entire district has the capabilities to send a message to parents regarding a certain bus, but it's not always utilized.

"Because they haven't had a need," Ellis. "I can't tell you that the buses haven't been late. I can tell you that they haven't have a great need to do that so far. So they haven't put that in place."

The district said starting next school year, if their is a delay with your child's bus route, you will get a text through the school's messaging system.

Crabtree said this is a step in the right direction for her and the other Lawton parents.

"I'm fighting. And it's coming along slowly. But it's coming along!" Crabtree said.

Lawton Public Schools said a handful of schools already have this type of notification for late buses. If parents have any concerns, to call up their principal first.

LPS is hiring bus drivers now. You can find more information here.

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