Some parents unhappy with preschoolers making pit stop on school bus route

NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- Some preschoolers in New Hanover County who ride the bus to school are making a pit stop on their way that some parents say they didn't know about. This year the Board of Transportation is having preschoolers and year round elementary students ride together to save money. But some parents say they weren't aware their young children had to make a bus change on the way to school. Scarlett O'Brien says when her son boarded the bus to go to Howe Preschool she thought he was going straight there. Days after school started she found out that's not the case. O'Brien said, "My job as a parent is to know where my child is, and the reason I'm talking to you right now is not to put the blame on anybody, but if I don't know where my child is, that's my number one job." O'Brien says she found out from other parents that her son and other preschoolers riding the bus are first taken to another school, then put on another bus to get to their preschool. "It's a concern because I'm putting my child on one bus in the morning then getting off of that bus and going into a different school then getting taken by another bus to his class." The school transportation department uses a color-coded tag system to make sure kids get on the right bus. But O'Brien isn't convinced that system is safe. "My kid comes home with an ID tag and all my child says is don't touch it. It's like a luggage bag at the airport." The director of pre-K for New Hanover County says combining bus routes for students helps. She says parents were told about the system in advance. New Hanover County Director of Pre-K Krista Holland said she is looking into why O'Brien and other parents at Howe Preschool were unaware of the changes.

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