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Parents say special need students left on bus for hours waiting to get home

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EAST ELMHURST, Queens — Parents in Queens are outraged, saying their children who have special needs -- some as young as 3 -- are being left on school buses for hours waiting to get home.

The parents, concerned about their kids and often left wondering when they'll be home, said they've had it with complaining to the city. They called PIX11 News for help and on Tuesday a change was announced.

The students attend the Lexington School and Center for the Deaf in Elmhurst, Queens.

Venita Sanichara waited hours to pick up her 4-year-old son, who is deaf and blind. School lets out at 2:30 p.m. Her son has to be tube fed at 4 p.m., but doesn't get home until after 5:30 p.m.

"I got a note from the doctor and he can't be on the bus longer than an hour and he's on the bus four hours. This is ridiculous," she said.

Carine Gordon said her 15-year-old son is deaf and every waits up to three hours to get home from school on the bus.


The parents blame the Office of Pupil Transportation, or the OPT, the organization that coordinates bus companies to pick up hundreds of children across the city. The group is run by the Department of transportation.

It's been a month now that the parents have complained -- to the Department of Education and the mayor's office -- that their children need help.

On Tuesday, PIX11 News reached out to the DOE and learned a fix is coming -- and soon.

"A new route that is solely dedicated to serving students at the Lexington School has been created and will be in place beginning October 13," the DOE said in a statement. "We will continue to monitor the situation and ensure that all concerns are resolved."

The mom have invited Mayor Bill de Blasio to ride the bus with their children to see how bad it is.

"If you can imagine a child that can't vocalize themselves, if they are tired or need to go to the bathroom, imagine what that means for a child," one parent said.