Bus boondoggle

Seven On Your Side
September 14, 2009 3:17:16 PM PDT
The first day of school was met with anger and frustration for one Queens mom. She was told her special needs son, who always relied on a school bus to get to school, would have to navigate public transportation by himself.

"I was in a panic. I really, really was in a panic." That was Grace Costa's reaction after hearing her special needs son Mike had to take public transportation to school. His normal school bus wouldn't be picking him up anymore.

"I got a phone call first week in August from (NYC Public School's) Pupil Transportation that he was being taken off bus transportation," a shaken Grace Costa told 7 On Your Side's Tappy Phillips. "And I was really taken aback."

Late last year Michael was re-evaluated by the school and special ed transportation was not approved. But Grace didn't find this out until 8 months later, in August.

"It's not fair to these children. Not fair to the families. Tell us and let us either work it out or we'll find a school closer to home," But Grace says she found out too late to switch schools. As a result, Michael would have to travel by himself, using public transportation. The trip would cover roughly 6 miles, and two city busses, to make it to his new school, P.S. 219.

Tappy asked the rising 7th grader what he thought of taking public transportation for the first time. "(I'm) scared. I don't know what I'm gonna do and everything," said Michael Costa.

Last month, Grace submitted a note from her son's pediatrician saying he "gets confused" and "can't concentrate" and should only be "placed on a yellow school bus."

"I'm a nervous wreck. I'm very worried. I'm very concerned. I just I want this resolved," said the concerned parent.

When 7 On Your Side contacted school authorities they told us that somehow Michael's case had fallen through the cracks and he should be entitled to a school bus ride.

So, on the first day of school we were there, shortly after 6 am, when Michael's bus was supposed to arrive.

But the bus didn't arrive. Finally, Mike's bus pulled up, nearly an hour and a half late. The driver said a back-up at the bus lot caused the delay and promised tomorrow she would be on time. As a result Michael was late to school this day. But, every since day one, Grace tells us the bus has been prompt, getting Michael to school on time.


Story by: Tappy Phillips

Produced by: Steve Livingstone

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