Overcrowded bus causes a mother’s concern

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 2/20/24

City of Newburgh mother Trisha Crumpler is frustrated with the Newburgh Enlarged City School District after her son Matthew Coolidge Jr. was let off his school bus with several other students and …

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Overcrowded bus causes a mother’s concern


City of Newburgh mother Trisha Crumpler is frustrated with the Newburgh Enlarged City School District after her son Matthew Coolidge Jr. was let off his school bus with several other students and told to wait at the stop before going to school. The situation followed several days after a Newburgh student was slashed on a bus.

At 6:47 a.m. on Thursday, February 8, Crumpler was called by her son on his way to school. He said to her he had been let off with three other students and they were told to wait till the bus came back to get them. The stop was at Second and Liberty Street in the City of Newburgh, an area unfamiliar to Coolidge.

Coolidge told his mother that the reason given for him and the other students to be let off the bus was due to overcrowding. After the drop off, Crumpler said Matthew’s grandfather was able to get to him within ten minutes and transport him safely. This was a first time situation for the family.

“There has been overcrowding issues he [Matthew] spoke of prior to now, but none to where someone had to get off the bus and wait for them to come back,” said Crumpler.

Crumpler’s son is a 14-year-old freshman at Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus and is regularly picked up from his stop by Bus 29 of the Gallagher Bus Service Corp. The bus company is based out of the Town of New Windsor. The female driver, according to Crumpler, has been his regular driver since he started school.

The district currently uses the Gallagher Bus Service Corp, George M. Carroll Inc, Mid State Bus Service, Inc, Visconti Bus Service, LLC, West Point Tours, Inc and Orange County Transit for transportation of students.

Following the incident, Crumpler reached out to the district’s Director of Transportation Patricia Coyne about what happened. Crumpler said that a video from the bus reviewed by Coyne confirmed her son had been picked up at his normal bus stop. The family lives in the East End on South William St.

The video continued with several students getting on the bus after Coolidge and ended up taking his seat after he had moved to let them on. The video further confirmed that Crumpler’s son and the other students were dropped off at Second and Liberty Street.

According to the district’s Transportation page “bus stops are established according to the policies and guidelines of the District, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and New York State Education Department directives and recommendations. Wherever possible, bus stop locations are centrally located at street corners/intersections or centrally located addresses to insure the safety of all students and other motorists and to accommodate the maximum number of students.”

Following the incident, Crumpler had also spoken with Warren Decker, Director of Safety of Leprechaun Lines, and was told that Matthew’s bus has 129 students assigned to it. According to the New York State Education Department, there are several types of school buses that operate. The most common buses seen are classified as a Type C (conventional bus). The specific bus type that Matthew rode is designed for carrying up to 78 students.

Crumpler was notified by her son’s principal on Friday, Feb. 9 that the driver had been removed from the route, a decision she was not satisfied with. A report was also filed with the City of Newburgh Police Department on the incident.

At the beginning of the week (Feb. 5), a student on a school bus was slashed by unknown assailants and was rushed to Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Crumpler revealed that she had activated a cell phone for her son on that Tuesday. “I was terrified, absolutely terrified. Not two days ago, a Newburgh bus was boarded and a child stabbed. As a mother, I was completely terrified.”

Crumpler said she would be following up by bringing this situation to the Board of Education and writing a complaint to the state. The regular board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 13 was canceled due to snow. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 27 at 6 p.m.

Neither the district nor the bus company responded to requests for comment.