Is 5:50 a.m. too early for elementary school kids to catch the bus?

Published: Aug. 22, 2016 at 8:37 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2016 at 5:04 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A group of Lexington parents says their children are waking up too early in order to catch the bus. Parents say they were notified Friday of pick-up times, with some happening even before sunrise.

The change impacts students who attend Meadow Glen Elementary. Lexington School District One bumped pick-up times by nearly 40 minutes earlier due to apparent under staffing and the district being under equipped.

District officials say the change came about when the state Department of Education removed 14 buses and replaced them with smaller capacity buses. The district says state law requires bus routes to be separated by grade level and some students were not getting to school on time.

Jill Messer, a parent of a 1st and 2nd grader affected by this change, says her kids will now have to wake up at 5 a.m. instead of 6 a.m.

"The bus has to be here at 5:50 in the morning," Messer says. "They request that we be here 5:45 in the morning and that is way too early to get 5 to 10-year-olds up."

However, parents say they're afraid the early pick-up times will impact their children's performance.

"Just by this afternoon, she's going to have been awake for seven hours," parent Harvey Watson says. "Children have a time span of attention and energy and by the end of the day, they're going to have cute little zombies running around not learning anything."

The state Education Department confirms they removed the 14 buses from the district only because they were older models. The department also says there are currently 121 regular route school buses and 23 spares.

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