Lehigh mother criticizies Lee Co. school district's communication

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Lehigh mother criticizies Lee Co. school district's communication

By Matt Grant. CREATED Aug 16, 2012

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - A Lehigh Acres single mother claims the Lee County School District isn't doing enough to communicate with parents and says the lack of communication is putting her daughter's safety at risk.

"Please help us keep our children safe," said Kristen Barros.

Barros' nine-year-old daughter waits for the bus at 7th Street SW and Hightower Avenue in Lehigh Acres - an intersection with no sidewalks or street lights.

While Barros is at work 45 minutes away in Fort Myers, her daughter waits for the bus in the morning.

On Tuesday the bus was an hour late.

"The bus company told me there was a substitute," said Barros, "and she was lost."

The drivers don't use GPS stems, according to school officials, because they're too distracting and too expensive.

Barros says the district should have at least called her using contact information they asked her to fill out at the beginning of the school year.

"I'm very upset," said Barros. "Which is why I called you, to try and find out how we can communicate better."

And communication is something she says was lacking when her daughter's bus was involved in a minor accident Monday. Barros found out after her daughter called her from her cell phone.

When she called the bus company she says they told her: "That she shouldn't be on her phone on the bus," she recalled.

To be fair, the school did call her to say her daughter would be late. But Barros says that call came an hour after she was supposed to be home and after she had already picked her up.

"I think it's irresponsible," said Barros. "I think we should have been notified when the accident happened."

The district didn't want to comment. We tried calling the transportation director a dozen times throughout the day but never heard back.

This isn't the first complaint about the district's communication with parents.

In a recent county-wide school survey, more than 960 people, voiced that "improving communication was the dominant suggestion."

"As long as they're communicating with me," said Barros, "I can make sure she's safe."

A district spokesman says the bus being late was an isolated incident. As for the communication concerns, the district says Barros can file a complaint to have this looked into.

Barros plans to do that Friday when she meets with her daughter's principal.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com

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