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Officials investigate complaint about students boarding buses early

By Staff | Apr 19, 2010

School officials recently investigated a complaint from one parent claiming their special education student was boarding a bus 15 minutes before dismissal.
The complaint involved a student at Island Coast High School in north Cape Coral.
According to Dr. Judy Piesco, a local education advocate who recently learned about the issue, ESE students boarding a bus earlier than the school’s dismissal time is a violation of both federal and state law. She also claims that students were boarded earlier to accommodate the district’s bus schedule and that this practice is active in other schools as well.
“I immediately notified the Florida Department of Education of the situation and was shortly, thereafter, advised that your district was informed by state education staff that you are in violation of the law and this practice must be stopped and never should have happened,” wrote Piesco in a letter to Superintendent James Browder and other district staff.
District spokesperson Joe Donzelli said there is no policy in place allowing students to board a bus before dismissal, but was unable to discuss the specifics of the student’s situation because of confidentiality.
“I have been told that a parent brought a concern regarding one bus at this school,” said Donzelli. “The matter was immediately reviewed and rectified to the satisfaction of the parent who brought the concern forward.”
Piesco added that transportation officials would have to recalibrate bus arrival times if any students were aboard prior to dismissal, because the additional 15 minutes would have to be added to the total running time.