Bentonville school buses late to pick up kids on first day of school


BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — The first day of school didn’t go as planned for some Bentonville students.

Parents said instead of a day filled with excitement, it turned into a missed workday filled with worry.

“He never ended up showing up for the elementary school or middle school kids,” said Lily Gauthreaux, a mother of two.

Gauthreaux said she waited 40 minutes for the bus to pick up her kids in the Lochmoor neighborhood in Bentonville.

Eventually, she decided to drive them herself, making them late for their first day of school.

“They missed their festivities, the first day little welcome thing they have, and poor thing was disheartened because she had been looking forward to it all year,” she said.

This leaves her and other parents looking for answers.

“We don’t know whether we need to go get our kids, or there will be a bus, or it will be late, or it’s not coming at all,” she said. “I mean we just have no idea. No one’s telling us anything.”

Leslee Wright with the Bentonville School District said the buses did come to the neighborhood Tuesday, but were late.

Something she said is common the first week of school.

Jay Ashrinarasimhan, another mother of two, said, “When I go to work in the morning, I need to know my kids are safe at school, and that they’re going to get back home safely.”

The residents in this area are on edge after being dropped from the bus route this year because the district says the neighborhood is less than a mile from school.

They’ve been given two weeks to figure out a plan to get their kids to class, on a route they’re saying isn’t safe to walk.

“I saw multiple kids even with their parents walking in the middle of the road with cars coming right at them, construction trucks coming right at them, then freezing not knowing what to do or where to go,” said Heidi Dennis, a mother of one.

On the way to school, there are sidewalks that end in the middle of grass and ongoing construction.

But, Wright said she’s inspected this route, and deemed it walkable.

Yet these parents tell us they aren’t satisfied.

“Some explanation is due from the school district with clear statistics explaining why they think they’re not able to meet,” said Ashrinarasimhan.

Despite push back from parents, Wright said after Aug. 27, the buses will no longer pickup at Lochmoor and that decision is final.

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