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Mother says DC school bus failed her son with special needs

Monday's delayed bus comes after a month of missed pick-ups last year, says the mother of a 10th grade student on the Autism spectrum.

WASHINGTON — Maybe Zakiriya Kitt wasn't exactly excited for the first day of school...

"Most people only go to school because their parents make them," he said, getting a laugh from his mother Taita, who says her son was determined to be on time. 

"The bus is supposed to be here by 7:55; my son leaves at 7:30 to make sure he doesn't miss his bus," which is supposed to pick him up outside their home on Rhode Island Avenue Northwest she said. 

For his first day of 10th grade Monday, Kitts says her son's DCPS bus didn't show up -- at least not on time.

And she said this wasn't the first time.

Last year, she says the bus didn't show up for a month straight. And when the bus doesn't show, it costs her money.

"Uber is not cheap. For rush hour this morning it was $36," she said. 

And the late or no show bus throws off her son's ability to focus.

"My son is on the spectrum," she said. "Kids on the spectrum, they like consistency; you're messing up his routine."

"Now he's got a rush and rushing to do everything, rushing to catch up with his work, rushing to get to school, and that's not fair to him," she said. 

The DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education tells WUSA9 that 98% of its buses were on time Monday, for more than 3,500 students.

The office says Zakiriya's bus was only a few minutes late - arriving at 8:10.

"That's not true," said Kitts. 

When she got her son to school she says she found the driver that was supposed to pick him up and says that driver admitted the bus was nearly an hour behind schedule - arriving at 8:46 according to paperwork Kitss says the driver showed her. 

"It's pretty bad when it comes with transportation with DCPS," she said. "Their communication is very, very poor. It's everybody points the finger at somebody else and no one takes the accountability."

Kitts says the students riding the bus with special needs like her son deserve better communication.

She wants the drivers to be empowered to call and let parents know when they are running late - so parents can put students son at ease.

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