No bus pickups for many Wake County students with special needs; WCPSS cites bus driver absences

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Many parents in Wake County are struggling to get their kids on the right bus for school.

Hundreds of students with special needs went without a pickup on the first day of the regular calendar year Monday.

It happened again for many of them Tuesday.

"We didn't hear anything," said Iris Castillo, whose 12-year-old son Alex is autistic. "I didn't know who to contact, I didn't know if the company was going to be the same, I didn't have the cab driver's new information: I didn't have anything."

Iris said she didn't have any issues with Alex's pickup until the traditional calendar year began.

Wake County Public Schools finally contacted families after many of the kids, like Alex, had gotten dropped off Monday. They said because of a unusual number of driver absences, some students didn't get picked up.

"If you did not receive an introduction call from your transportation vendor because your route did not have a driver, we sincerely apologize," said the school district in a post online. "We are committed to providing safe and reliable transportation. We will review today's service with all our transportation vendors and where needed, make improvements."

Kristin Cook's son Ellis also hasn't been picked up this week.

"It's been really stressful and I think everybody just wants clear communication as to what's going on," said Cook. "If they're not here by 8:30 in the morning, we'll be taking him to school Wednesday."

The district also said their vendors are trying to get the matter straightened out. They will also reimburse parents mileage if they end up having to drive their kids to school.

In the meantime, Iris is worried.

"I honestly don't know what we're going to do," she said. "I have to be in RTP for work. I have meetings that I have so it's not like I can sit here and wait."
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