Stranded students not likely here, schools say

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 26, 2004

School bus drivers in a West Virginia district left hundreds ofschoolchildren stranded at home this week when they headed for thewoods to hunt instead of driving their routes.

But area school officials say they doubt that could ever happenhere. The reason – local schools are already out of school thisweek for Thanksgiving.

“We’ve been taking the week of Thanksgiving off for severalyears,” said Brookhaven School District Superintendent Lea Barrett.”Our parents and staff seem to really like it this way.”

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Lincoln County School District Superintendent Terry Brister saidit is also a tradition in the county district to take this week offfrom school.

The week off gives adults a break to cook their Thanksgivingmeals, put up Christmas decorations and even go hunting in theopening week of gun season for deer, Barrett said.

But hunting season has never been a reason for area schools totake the week off.

“We have to schedule 187 days of school each year, but how we dothat is really left to each district,” Brister said. “It has justworked out that hunting season opens during the week ofThanksgiving. It has nothing to do with getting out of school soyou can hunt or fish.”

In West Virginia, nearly 2,000 Monongalia County schoolchildrenhad to find rides or miss school Monday when bus drivers skippedtheir routes to go deer hunting. Transportation officials wereunable to find substitute drivers for 10 bus routes, according toThe Associated Press.

Tuesday, six routes remained driverless, affecting about 600children.

Monongalia County schools Assistant Superintendent Jake Mullettold The Associated Press that school officials will meet with thedrivers and disciplinary action, including suspension, ispossible.