Students from an exclusive Long Island academy got a bus ride that was a bit less than exclusive, leading to a cascade of tears after one of the grossest rides you can imagine.
According to WPIX-TV, children who were being bused to the $32,000-a-year Lawrence Woodmere Academy in Woodmere, New York, were forced to ride on a bus with feces, vomit and urine for over 90 minutes from the borough of Queens to the exclusive school.
Vincent Lopez and his wife sent their daughter to the exclusive academy in order to get a better chance at life. That required her to be bused from her home in New York City to the school on Long Island.
However, since it was a private school, busing was subcontracted to a company called RivLab out of Arvene. In May of 2016, Vincent Lopez described one morning when the bus came for his seventh grader.
“Feces on the ground. Vomit on the chair. Urine smelling,” Vincent said. “And the bus driver saying, ‘Get in!’ And eight children sitting on one chair because it’s filthy.”
Veronica described the conditions the students were subjected to.
“There was a broom that had poop,” Veronica said. “I tried to go to sit in another seat, and it was sticky too. We all had to squish into the back!”
Lawrence Woodmere Academy even reached out to RivLab, demanding an apology and a refund for the remainder of the school year.
“Our students at LWA once again were transported on a bus that was unsafe and unhealthy for any LIVING PERSON to ride on. We discussed the unclean bus last week,” an email from the school to RivLab read.
“Once again the bus arrived in this unsanitary condition yesterday and again today. The students were crying when they arrived. The families are asking for a full refund for the remainder of the school year.”
Inexplicably, RivLab not only refused to do that, they said that they students were transported properly.
“The children have been transported safely,” RivLab representative Dan Rivelas said when confronted with the photos. When he was confronted with the obvious fact that students being transported on the same bus as fecal matter isn’t, um, safe, Rivelas stood his (admittedly shaky) ground.
“Well, what’s your definition of safe?” Rivelas said. “My definition is getting them to and from school safely and we have an excellent safety reputation.”
Yeah, who cares if they got to school in a septic tank on wheels? They got there in one piece, goshdarnit.
Rivelas would later consult with the driver of the bus and said that the kids were likely responsible for the mess. Oh, totally — I know plenty of seventh graders who defecate and vomit in the middle of the bus.
I’d also like to point out, that also appears to be a possible drug baggie right by the fecal matter in the first montage of pictures. As much as scary 1980s PSAs may have tried to convince us otherwise, there aren’t a whole lot of seventh-grade private schoolers who bring their stash on the bus to get high — or, for that matter, who even have a stash.
Headmaster Alan Bernstein didn’t buy Rivelas’ excuses, either. In a statement, he said that they “were appalled at the horrible condition. They were unapologetic and had no explanation that we found credible … (we) will no longer be doing business with Rivlab.”
Unfortunately, since RivLab is a private company, the most that is generally done is twice-yearly announced inspections by the Health Department. A number of regulatory and law enforcement organizations — including the New York State Department of Transportation, New York Police, and the New York City and Nassau County health departments — declined to take on the RivLab case when contacted by reporters.
It’s easy to see why these students were crying. Hopefully, RivLab is crying soon, too — over lost customers.
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H/T U.K. Daily Mail