Ben Chapman https://kallos.nyc/reporter/ben-chapman en New York Daily News Disabled NYC kids spent hours stranded in the storm on buses, without food or bathrooms by Ben Chapman https://kallos.nyc/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-disabled-nyc-kids-spent-hours-stranded-storm-buses-without-food-or <span>New York Daily News Disabled NYC kids spent hours stranded in the storm on buses, without food or bathrooms by Ben Chapman</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Disabled NYC kids spent hours stranded in the storm on buses, without food or bathrooms</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 11/20/2018 - 2:44pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/ben-chapman" hreflang="en">Ben Chapman</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-metro-storm-smashes-city-schools-20181116-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-metro-storm-smashes-city-scho…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-11-16T19:44:14Z">Fri, 11/16/2018 - 14:44</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-11-16T12:00:00Z">Fri, 11/16/2018 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Citywide Council on Special Education Co-Chair Gloria Corsino said she was flooded with calls from parents whose kids with disabilities suffered on buses that were stuck on the roads for hours.</p> <p>“These drivers don’t allow kids to eat on the bus or use the bathroom,” Corsino said. “Imagine the trauma. This is just poor emergency management.”</p> <p>Manhattan City Councilman Ben Kallos said the storm exposed serious weaknesses in the city’s beleaguered, $1.2 billion yellow bus system, which is already undergoing an overhaul amid widespread service problems, allegations of corruption and a federal investigation.</p> <p>“All of this could have been prevented,” said Kallos, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side and intervened with the NYPD to help other kids with disabilities get home from the same stricken bus as Reynoso’s son.</p> <p>“When you already have a bus route that’s three hours long, and then there’s a storm, it’s going to double or triple,” Kallos said. “We’re setting up these drivers and kids for failure.”</p> <p>The city will investigate busing problems encountered in the storm, said Mayor de Blasio spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img alt="Disabled NYC kids spent hours stranded in the storm on buses, without food or bathrooms" src="https://www.nydailynews.com/resizer/YIXhu_Emn-SdIQSqlg7lQW6x5iY=/1400x0/www.trbimg.com/img-5bef0fe9/turbine/ny-1542393828-8glrvz0v5p-snap-image" /></p> <p>Justin Lalane, a city student with disabilities, was stranded on a bus for hours on Thursday. (Courtesy: Judika Lalane / Guillermo Murcia/Moment Editorial/Getty Images)</p> <p>The most vulnerable among us — schoolkids with disabilities — paid the heaviest price for the city’s failure to mount an adequate response to Thursday’s storm.</p> <p>Education Department officials admitted Friday that roughly 700 bus routes were delayed in the gridlock caused by inclement weather, stranding thousands of students with disabilities on freezing roads until the last public school students were dropped off at their homes after 4:30 a.m.</p> <p>Trapped in small vehicles for hours with no food or bathrooms, many kids soiled themselves and cried for their parents.</p> <p>Some mothers and fathers took matters into their own hands and set out to rescue their kids.</p> <p>“It was too much, I went to go get my son myself,” said Bronx mom Judilka Lalane, 52. “I walked to get him in the snow.”</p> <p>Lalane’s son Justin is 20 years old and has autism that leaves him unable to communicate. He got out of class at the Public School 811 on Longfellow Ave. at 2 p.m. on Thursday.</p> <p>When he still wasn’t home by 10 p.m., Lalane called his bus driver and learned he was stalled in traffic on Jerome Ave. about half a mile away from her Bainbridge Ave. She set out on foot to get him, herself.</p> <p>“I knew he was hungry and wanted to use the bathroom,” Lalane explained. “I had to go.”</p> <p>Lalane brought her son home safe. Many other parents reported similarly harrowing stories that left kids traumatized.</p> <p>Another Bronx mother, Jennifer Reynoso, drove to rescue her 3-year-old son, who was trapped in a bus about a mile and a half from her home, when he still wasn’t home by midnight.</p> <p>The boy, who has disabilities, had soiled himself and had bad diaper rash.</p> <p>Reynoso kept her son home from school Friday.</p> <p>“I was very frustrated and very angry,” said Reynoso. “There were 22 kids on my son’s bus. It’s obvious the city wasn’t prepared.”</p> <p>Traffic is backed up at 11:55 p.m. on Thursday after a snowstorm crippled the city. At center, a school bus is pictured amongst the gridlock. (Andy Crosby)</p> <p>Citywide Council on Special Education Co-Chair Gloria Corsino said she was flooded with calls from parents whose kids with disabilities suffered on buses that were stuck on the roads for hours.</p> <p>“These drivers don’t allow kids to eat on the bus or use the bathroom,” Corsino said. “Imagine the trauma. This is just poor emergency management.”</p> <p>Manhattan City Councilman Ben Kallos said the storm exposed serious weaknesses in the city’s beleaguered, $1.2 billion yellow bus system, which is already undergoing an overhaul amid widespread service problems, allegations of corruption and a federal investigation.</p> <p>“All of this could have been prevented,” said Kallos, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side and intervened with the NYPD to help other kids with disabilities get home from the same stricken bus as Reynoso’s son.</p> <p>“When you already have a bus route that’s three hours long, and then there’s a storm, it’s going to double or triple,” Kallos said. “We’re setting up these drivers and kids for failure.”</p> <p>The city will investigate busing problems encountered in the storm, said Mayor de Blasio spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg.</p> <p>“Our top administration officials were working the phones and in touch with parents and staff to make sure students arrived home safely,” Rothenberg said.</p> <p>“We arranged for students that were stuck on buses late in the evening to have police escorts to help them reach their homes more quickly,” she added.</p> <p>City schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said the busing problems were a the result of a “perfect storm” of bad circumstances.</p> <p>The delays impacted about 10% of all routes citywide, which serve 150,000 kids in total, according to the DOE.</p> <p>While the children spent hours on buses trying to get home, Carranza said none suffered any injuries.</p> <p>“So for us, we are very grateful for that,” he remarked.</p> <p>Unprecedented problems have deviled the city school bus system since the start of the school year on Sept. 5, with delays and no-shows leading to nearly 130,000 calls to school bus help lines by October.</p> <p>Carranza forced the ouster of two top bus executives that month amid a shake-up of the city’s Office of Pupil Transportation prompted by service issues and reports of corruption.</p> <p>An independent audit of the city’s yellow bus system is ongoing and Carranza said the city is considering a number of fixes to improve service, such as mandating of GPS tacking systems on all buses.</p> <p>The storm caused other headaches.</p> <p>A boiler exploded at Public School 38 in Queens, injuring a staffer who had to be taken to a hospital.</p> <p>School officials canceled after-school programs for Friday with relatively short notice for parents.</p> <p>Brooklyn mom Irina David was notified that her son’s after-school activities were canceled at 11 a.m., forcing her to leave work early to get the boy.</p> <p>“The DOE is a total failure for working parents,” said David, a marketing director whose son attends Brooklyn Public School 10. “I had to take off work early to get him. I don’t see the reason for it. The weather is normal today.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Tue, 20 Nov 2018 19:44:13 +0000 Josh Jamieson 6614 at https://kallos.nyc New York Daily News NYC school bus horror stories — and possible fixes — discussed at packed City Council hearing by Ben Chapman https://kallos.nyc/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-nyc-school-bus-horror-stories-and-possible-fixes-discussed-packed <span>New York Daily News NYC school bus horror stories — and possible fixes — discussed at packed City Council hearing by Ben Chapman</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">NYC school bus horror stories — and possible fixes — discussed at packed City Council hearing</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:40pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/ben-chapman" hreflang="en">Ben Chapman</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-metro-school-bus-horror-stories-and-possible-fixes-at-hearing-20181016-story.html">http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-metro-school-bus-horror-storie…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-10-16T16:40:18Z">Tue, 10/16/2018 - 12:40</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-10-17T12:00:00Z">Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Even before the hotly anticipated hearing even took place, protesters gathered on the steps of the city Education Department headquarters to call for improved service, and Council Member Ben Kallos (D-UES) led a press conference at City Hall in support of legislation to improve bus service.</p> <p>Families said problems with bus service are ongoing, despite the city’s efforts.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The city’s student transportation system is busted.</p> <p>Dozens of families, advocates, educators and elected officials turned out for a tense City Council hearing Tuesday on the crisis that has engulfed the public schools’ yellow bus system since classes began Sept 5.</p> <p>Brooklyn Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Bensonhurst) scheduled the oversight hearing on the Education Department’s Office of Pupil Transportation following a series of Daily News reports that exposed massive delays and no shows in the bus system – and exposed rampant complaints about the hiring of drivers with serious criminal records.</p> <p>Treyger, who’s chair of the City Council Education Committee, cited a News story on a four-hour yellow bus hell ride faced by an autistic fourth-grader from Queens in his opening remarks, in which he said the city’s yellow bus service has hit a new low.</p> <p>“This is the worst year yet; there is a high rate of delays,” said Treyger. “We have to do better.”</p> <p>Treyger related his own encounter with a kindergartner from Manhattan — who was let off her bus at the wrong stop three times at the beginning of the last school year — as part of his education in the city’s long struggle to get students to school.</p> <p>“Citywide, these incidents happen to thousands of students who are negatively impacted by the negligence of DOE and OPT,” Tryeger said. “We cannot continue to allow these things to happen to our children.”</p> <p>Speaking before a packed crowd in Council Chambers in City Hall, Treyger cited stats showing the city school bus helpline received nearly 130,000 complaints calls during the month of September alone, representing an increase of about 20,000 calls from the same period last year.</p> <p>He also rattled off the details of nine new bills created by local lawmakers to tackle the yellow busing problems that are driving families crazy, including new laws to mandate the use of GPS devices on buses, to require the DOE to report on bad drivers and average transportation times for students.</p> <p>City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza addresses issues with the school bus system at Council meeting. (Nina Cochran for New York Daily News)</p> <p>Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza vowed to do better in his testimony at the public hearing, promising to overhaul the city’s long-troubled, $1.2 billion yellow bus system.</p> <p>“The busing issues and delays families experienced during the first weeks of school, most notably in District 30 in Queens, were unacceptable, and I apologize to all students and families who were affected,” Carranza said.</p> <p>Carranza then introduced his newly installed transportation adviser Kevin Moran, who listed a number of changes the city is making in response to the spike in yellow bus trouble this year, including added staffers, changes to bus contracts and efforts to tighten background checks for drivers and matrons.</p> <p>Members of Parents to Improve School Transportation rally at Tweed Courthouse on Tuesday. (Alec Tabak for New York Daily News)</p> <p>Even before the hotly anticipated hearing even took place, protesters gathered on the steps of the city Education Department headquarters to call for improved service, and Council Member Ben Kallos (D-UES) led a press conference at City Hall in support of legislation to improve bus service.</p> <p>Families said problems with bus service are ongoing, despite the city’s efforts.</p> <p>“When you go to work, you want to assume your kid is going to be safe and not sitting in the cold,” said Brooklyn parent Celia Green, who spoke at the protest organized by Parents to Improve Student Transportation. “If you’re always missing half of class, how are you going to do well in school?”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Wed, 17 Oct 2018 16:40:18 +0000 Josh Jamieson 6553 at https://kallos.nyc New York Daily News City Council committee to hold hearing on school bus fiasco following Daily News series by Ben Chapman https://kallos.nyc/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-city-council-committee-hold-hearing-school-bus-fiasco-following <span>New York Daily News City Council committee to hold hearing on school bus fiasco following Daily News series by Ben Chapman</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">City Council committee to hold hearing on school bus fiasco following Daily News series</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 10/04/2018 - 10:55am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/ben-chapman" hreflang="en">Ben Chapman</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-metro-council-hearing-school-bus-scandal-20181003-story.html">http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-metro-council-hearing-school-bus-scandal…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-10-04T14:55:26Z">Thu, 10/04/2018 - 10:55</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-10-04T12:00:00Z">Thu, 10/04/2018 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>"Parents should not have to wonder where their child is or when their child is finally getting home from a school bus ride gone off track. With the measures required in this bill, parents picking up or dropping off their child could rest assured knowing when and where their school bus is, using an app on their phone," said Council Member Ben Kallos (D-UES), a new parent who proposed the GPS bill.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A City Council committee will hold a hearing on the crisis in the city's school bus system, following a Daily News series which exposed rampant complaints about the hiring of drivers with serious criminal records.</p> <p>Brooklyn Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Besonhurst), chair of the City Council Education Committee, scheduled an Oct. 16 oversight hearing on the Education Department's Office of Pupil Transportation.</p> <p>The News previously exposed massive delays and no shows in the bus system. By Sept. 14 — just the fifth day of school — the city's busing complaint line had been flooded with calls, receiving 76,223 compared to 57,575 calls last year.</p> <p>An online tally published by the city showed at least 1,010 yellow bus delays and other problems with school buses in one day, as families reported no-shows and late buses.</p> <p>Small-cap companies typically benefit from strong corporate earnings and tax reform…just like the environment we have now.</p> <p>The News has also previously reported that more than 100 drivers did not get full background checks over the past five months and at least six drivers had been convicted of serious crimes including domestic abuse, drunk driving and secretly filming a woman in the shower. One driver had 13 prior arrests.</p> <p>"First and foremost we need to understand how and why this happened," Treyger said, calling for a full investigation. "If companies are not complying with contracts with the city of New York, there must be consequences. We're talking about our children. This is one of our most basic functions and the city failed many of our kids."</p> <p>DOE officials announced an overhaul of the background check system on Sept. 19 — something Treyger credited to the Daily News.</p> <p>"I also want to publicly thank the Daily News for its coverage of this important issue," Treyger added. "If not for the News I'm not sure that these issues would ever have come to light."</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Education Dept. investigations unit that does the background checks has been moved to the Human Resources division on Court St. in Brooklyn from the OPT offices in Queens – a transfer that some investigators are unhappy with.</p> <p>The background investigations and penalties for misconduct will now be finalized by DOE lawyers.</p> <p>The City Council oversight panel will also hear testimony on a series of bills, including one that would require DOE to disclose policies and procedures involving drivers and attendants and one that would require two-way radios, cell phones and GPS devices on the buses, Treyger's office said.</p> <p>"Parents should not have to wonder where their child is or when their child is finally getting home from a school bus ride gone off track. With the measures required in this bill, parents picking up or dropping off their child could rest assured knowing when and where their school bus is, using an app on their phone," said Council Member Ben Kallos (D-UES), a new parent who proposed the GPS bill.</p> <p>Other bills include the creation of a school bus bill of rights, and more extensive training and tracking of drivers and attendants who work with kids with disabilities.</p> <p>Education Department Senior Transportation Advisor Kevin Moran said city families deserve consistently good bus service.</p> <p>"We're meeting with families, bus vendors, and school leaders for their feedback on how we can improve our systems, and look forward to working together to implement more changes," Moran said.</p> <p>As of this Monday, the city schools yellow bus help line had received 129,827 calls, compared to 109,548 in the same period last year.</p> <p>But school officials said the call volume has begun to slow down, suggesting some of the service problems may be easing.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Thu, 04 Oct 2018 14:55:25 +0000 Josh Jamieson 6539 at https://kallos.nyc