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Parents, community leaders decry lack of bus aides, say violent incidents on school busses rising

DeShaun Baldwin standing at a podium with media microphones on it as other sit behind her.
Thomas O'Neil-White
CAO Parent Advocate DeShaun Baldwin discusses parent concerns over the lack of bus aides for BPS students.

Parents and community leaders are serving the Buffalo Board of Education and busing service provider First Student with a notice of Civil Liability and Criminal Neglect for what they say is a refusal to address the shortage of bus aides during transportation hours for Buffalo Public Schools children.

The dearth of aides has led to student-on-student assaults and Community Action Organization Parent Advocate DaShaun Baldwin said bus riding is now becoming a traumatizing experience for children who are constantly experiencing bullying on the way to school.

“We are asking for the state. We are asking for our legislators. We are asking the community,” she said. “We are asking for the school board to help expedite — do anything, do everything that you can do in your power — to be able to get bus aides on the school bus. And it's extremely important that our children feel safe so that way they can learn and that they actually want to go to school.”

Bishop Michael Badger calls for more bus aides on City of Buffalo school busses
Thomas O'Neil-White
Bishop Michael Badger calls for more bus aides on City of Buffalo school busses

What about cost of hiring new aides? Urban Think Tank member Bishop Michael Badger said the district is flush with millions in pandemic stimulus money that could be put into paying aides a livable wage.

“My understanding right now,” he said of money not being spent by the district. “[Is] we're sending extra money back to the federal government because we have not spent it this district has been so dysfunctional. It is unbelievable and at the end of the day as I said earlier our children seem to be a second thought.”

Buffalo Public Schools is holding open interviews for bus aides on Thursday.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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