ECISD Bus Confusion Leaves Parents Panicking

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Ector County ISD parent, Elizabeth Springer, panicked Tuesday afternoon when her daughter did not meet her at the bus stop after school.

"I was waiting since about 3:45 p.m. out at Gonzales and no one ever showed up," she said. "I ended up calling the ECISD Police. I've called the bus barn more than 20 times. I called her school, called her teacher. No one would answer or give me a call. There's only so long you can wait for your child and when you can't find them, what are you going to do?"

Springer wasn't alone.

Other parents were calling into NewsWest 9 saying their child, who was to supposed to be in West Odessa was in Pleasant Farms.

After calling around on their own, many parents said they found their children at the ECISD bus barn and transportation center.

"Yesterday (Monday) we had about 15 or 20 students here, waiting for parents and today (Tuesday) there wasn't as many students but we had about maybe eight or nine," ECISD Transportation Specialist, Michelle Kendrick, said.

As a result of the confusion, ECISD parents have been gathering in an area, going inside and outside the transportation center, trying to pick up their kids where they were held. So far, transportation officials told NewsWest 9 this happens every year during the first week.

"The teachers, the principals, they're putting students that doesn't go on the bus on the bus," Kendrick said. "They're just supposed to stay at the school. Instead of us having the parents to meet the buses, we just have the buses to bring the students here and have the parents to meet them here at transportation and pick the kids up."

This trend was also echoed by parents.

Some told NewsWest 9 off-camera that this was the fifth time their child had been lost in bus confusion.

"Parents need to understand that we're not doing anything on purpose," Kendrick said. "This happens. It's happened every year for the first week."

But parents said that's little comfort to them.

"I didn't know where my child was," Springer said. "I thought she was hurt, someone took her, I didn't know what was going on. She shouldn't have to do this. She's only four. She doesn't know what's going on."

All children were returned home to safety on Tuesday just before 7 p.m.