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Necn Investigates: Fewer Than Half of Boston School Buses Have Monitors

Parents are calling for an increase in the number of monitors after reports of a student who molested other students on a bus

When you put your children on a school bus, you assume that they’re safe.

Amid renewed calls for more bus monitors, there is renewed concern for a lot of parents.

“I found out on Facebook last night," parent Kara Grinkley said of reports that a 6-year-old student at Boston Renaissance Charter School molested other children on a school bus. "My mom sent me the link.”

Grinkley has a 4-year-old at Boston Renaissance in K-1. She’s outraged that she found out about the alleged sexual abuse through a Facebook post.

“It’s definitely concerning to not have a clue if he was exposed visually to any of those things or even exposed to any of those threats,” she said.

Grinkley is among parents who stood in front of Boston Renaissance on Tuesday calling for bus monitors for all students, whether they go to public or charter schools.

“We need to stand up for our own kids to make sure there are monitors on these buses because they are pretty much not being watched from the minute they get on that bus all the way till they get to the school," she said.

Boston Public Schools provides the buses for the charter school. So, necn Investigates questioned the district. It turns out that there are bus monitors on fewer than half (1,143) of the 3,081 bus trips each day.

Schools have to request the monitors, typically for a child with special needs. For Boston Renaissance, 8 of the 21 routes have monitors.

There was no monitor on the bus in question, but necn Investigates has learned there was a video camera.

Boston Public Schools confirmed that they also learned of the incident from social media along with other parents on Monday, three weeks after the incident. The parents say a bus driver is too busy watching the road to watch an entire bus of children.

They’ve invited Mayor Marty Walsh and Superintendent of Schools Tommy Chang to a town hall meeting on Dec. 29, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 61 Columbia Rd. in Dorchester to discuss school bus monitors.

The group of parent activists say if the mayor and school officials don’t show up, they’ll be filing the first ever child endangerment case with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

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