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Local parents concerned about their kids’ safety on school buses that lack A/C | #schoolsaftey

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Several parents in Mobile County say they’re worried about their kids’ safety on the school bus.

According to Rena Philips, a spokesperson for the Mobile County Public School System, nearly half of all route buses in Mobile County don’t have air conditioning. Philips says only 288 of 544 route buses have A/C.

FOX10 News sat down with a couple of concerned moms who say the outside heat, coupled with an even higher bus temperature, has some of their children on the verge of heat exhaustion when they come home from school.

Racheal Harold says she was alarmed when she picked up her son from his bus stop on Tuesday.

“He felt dizzy, he felt like he was going to vomit, he felt like he was going to pass out, he had a headache… all signs of heat exhaustion. No kid should ever have to go through that,” detailed Harold.

“The second my son got off the bus, I knew something was wrong. He was beet-red, the color of an apple. His ears were flaming red, his head look like he just stuck it in the sink, and he was drenched in sweat. The heat index was 108 that day which means in your vehicle, it’s at least 118 if not higher,” she explained.

Harold launched a petition that’s gaining traction with several parents.

Another mom, Madison Reich, is also signing the petition. She has three children in the Mobile County Public School System.

“The buses are constantly stopping. There’s no wind movement, and there’s no air flow,” said Reich. “Our school system should take priority and shift some funds around to help our kids stay cool and healthy and safe and our school bus drivers as well.”

Per state requirement, each bus that carries students with special needs does have A/C.

Philips says MCPSS is working towards putting A/C in all buses.

“Air conditioning is expensive to put in buses and so we made the decision several years ago that as we renew our fleet, we will be purchasing buses that do have air conditioning. Six years ago we started that, so all of the buses that have been purchased since then do have air conditioning,” explained Philips.

Still, Philips says it’s a process.

“It depends on the state and how much money we have for buses. Every year we use state funding to purchase new buses and we take older buses out of circulation,” she added.

Until then, what can kids do to stay safe in the summer scorcher?

“You can roll down the windows to get some air circulating in the bus and they can bring a bottle of water,” Philips advised.

While both moms agree those measures can help, they say it doesn’t come close to solving the issue.

“If we have the technology and the funds and the resources I don’t understand why we can’t implement those,” added Reich.

FOX10 News reached out to the Baldwin County Public School System and they said all 44 buses carrying students with special needs do have A/C. Their remaining 220 buses don’t have A/C and rely on window ventilation. Like MCPSS, they say they recently began the process to order A/C on all of their school buses.

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