Will the New Bus Policy Unite or Divide Middle and High Schoolers?

Lily Grazioso, Staff Writer

Scituate High School students are not alone on their busses anymore, as Gates Middle School students joined them this year. This policy was implemented because of the 15-minute difference in the schools’ start times. Responding to repeated requests from middle school parents, Gates Middle School adjusted its start time nearly 40 minutes this year, starting at 8:00 a.m. SHS students report to their first-period class at 8:15 a.m., which is five minutes later than last year. According to SHS assistant principal Bill Luette, the new start times for both schools facilitated this change; however, three years ago, they did share busses when there were similar start times at two different campuses.

Ryan Beattie, principal of Gates Middle School, mentioned they had seen a decrease in reported bus incidents, specifically “behavioral infractions.” Beattie explained, “Last year at this time, we had a lot more incidents that had been reported when middle school students were the only students riding the busses.” He also mentioned this is the first year that cameras were placed on the bus, which he believes could be another reason for better-behaved students.

Nevertheless, students have concerns about the new busing schedule. Melissa Grazioso, an 8th grader at the middle school, believes the busing schedule is inefficient: “We have to wait before and after school,” she said. The 15-minute difference in start times means that in the mornings, the high schoolers have extra time before school starts, but after school, middle schoolers are sitting around for 15 minutes while waiting for the high school to end.

Maria Froio, another 8th grader, says this is the worst part of her day. “It’s always stressing me out knowing if I will have a seat or not.” High schoolers agree with Froio and dread the process daily.

SHS junior Sarah Siciliano shared her strong opinion: “It’s hell on earth…you can see how many people a bus can seat, and if it exceeds that amount, maybe you should add another bus.”

Fortunately, an additional bus will join the pickup schedule soon, as drivers have seen their busses go past capacity. Toward the end of the pickup schedule, there isn’t a seat on the bus without two kids sitting, crammed with their backpacks on their laps. Many students have been forced to use one seat to lean on, and the other like a brace for hard turns; the small amount of space possibly left on a seat can barely hold a lunchbox.

Of 29 middle schoolers who shared their opinion, 75.9% believe the new bus situation is worse than last year.

However, Mary Don, a 7th grader, is indifferent to the subject: “It’s a lot more crowded, like 2-3 people to a seat…but the high schoolers just sit in the back and listen to music,” she said. She doesn’t care how she gets to school, as long as there are no problems.