GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Parents rely on school bus drivers to get their kids to and from school safely and on–time. But in the first few weeks of school it's a little tougher for them to do, with so many new faces.
Getting your kids to and from school is a big job for bus drivers.
“It is a task for those drivers to learn who's on their bus and who's going to ride in the morning and afternoon,” says David Montoya, director of transportation for District 51.
Montoya says District 51 contracts a bus service. So every year new bus drivers need to learn hundreds of kids’ names, faces and neighborhoods. With that much to know right off the bat, sometimes things are bound to go wrong.
“We'll have some kids that get off at the wrong stop,” says Montoya.
Montoya says that's typical every year.
“We have had some incidents this year,” says Montoya.
The problem is when bus drivers drop kids off at community stops, some kids don't know where they are.
“Nor do we know what direction they should be going to, until we know those kids,” says Montoya.
And with young kids responsible for finding their way home, it's possible for one to get lost.
“We can't wait to see what direction each child goes to,” says Montoya.
That's why officials say the District and parents must work together.
“The best case scenario would be to have a parent supervisor at each one of those stops, morning and afternoon, to help with that situation,” says Montoya.
On top of that, parents can help in other ways. Talk with the bus driver if your child needs extra attention, put ID cards in their backpacks and fill out the bus registration forms, so bus drivers can track what bus your kid is on.
Heather Benjamin, spokesperson for the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, says parents frequently call dispatch when their kids don't come home from school. And that's exactly what the Sheriff'’s Office wants them to do.
“We don't want parents to try and find them on their own. If something terrible has actually happened, their just burning up time, when we can actually be on the case trying to find the kid,” says Benjamin.
As for the District, they say your child's safety is of utmost importance, but there's only so much supervising they can do.
“I would love to say that the school district could be responsible for every kid everywhere, but that's just not reality,” says Montoya.
Law enforcement also wants to remind parents to speak to kids about checking in with them after school if they choose to play at a friend’s house. Officials say when many kids go missing they're usually around the corner.