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Letter: Falcone, Huot Help Kids off School Bus

Kathleen Del Col writes that Schools Superintendent Stephen Falcone and Finance Director Richard Huot didn't just help from their desks when there was a safety problem on Mansfield Avenue—they went out on the street to help.

To the editor:

I would like to thank Dr. Stephen Falcone, the superintendent of schools, and Mr. Richard Huot, Darien Public Schools director of finance, for personally ensuring the safety of our students during Wednesday’s nor’easter. 

As the storm began dumping snow on Darien, a section of Mansfield road was closed between Fox Hill Lane and Peach Hill Road due to downed wires. [see attached map] The area had been blocked off for several hours, yet no detour route had been established and cars approaching the closure were forced to turn around on Mansfield Avenue creating a traffic nightmare and a safety hazard.

Just before dismissal, Dr. Falcone and Mr. Huot visited the area and quickly determined that there was no way to safely disembark students along a section of Mansfield where cars were making simultaneous u-turns. 

While Mr. Huot stationed himself at Overbrook Lane [see attached map] and diverted northbound traffic onto a detour route, Dr. Falcone supervised students as they got off the buses and personally walked them up Mansfield Avenue to the various side streets. Thank you, Dr. Falcone and Mr. Huot for immediately taking action to address a very dangerous situation and for your dedication to the safety of our kids.    

Kathleen Del Col
Darien

Joe Pankowski November 09, 2012 at 02:19 AM
...above and beyond the call of duty. Truly great stuff.
John Boulton November 09, 2012 at 02:22 AM
If you know these two gents like I do, you would not be surprised by their dedication to our children. They are the best!!
Leslie Yager November 09, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Back in the day, I rode the Darien school bus every day K through 12 and never saw a sole from staff do anything like this. This is really a nice story!
Andrea Cragin November 09, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Unfortunately for all the other children on bus #5, they were dropped off at the corner of Brookside and Sylvan because the driver told them he could go no further on his route. Kids had to walk home from that point to as far away as Stephen Mather and Dellwood Rd in that storm (the same storm Jayme Stevenson warned us was dangerous and to make sure our kids got home safely from the bus stop!!) I called First Student and they denied any wrong doing on the driver's part, saying that the Darien Police told them which route they could take. I then called the superintendent's office and got through to Matt Byrnes who said he would look into the matter. i have yet to hear back from Mr. Byrnes. I am happy that no students got hurt, however, I am extremely disappointed in the bus driver's decision to put all those kids at risk and the lack of follow-up to my inquiry and complaint.
Real E November 09, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Dr. Falcone and Mr. Huot get it done. Andrea - extremely disappointed in the lack of follow-up? Really? I assume you either spoke to Mr. Byrnes either late Wednesday afternoon or early Thursday morning? How about you give the guy some time to research your issue and get back to you? Maybe he called the bus company and didn't get the answer he wanted? Maybe he called the bus company and they have not followed up with him yet? Maybe he was out of the office on Thursday dealing with a sick child? Believe it or not, the world doesn't revolve around you . . .
David Gurliacci (Editor) November 09, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Real E, it seems pretty clear from her comment that Andrea's focus is on the safety of the kids.
Real E November 10, 2012 at 01:24 PM
David, I completely understand that her main concern was the safety of the children (as it would be for any parent). But why complain about someone apparently not doing their job when you have no idea what he/she is doing on a daily basis? It makes Mr. Byrnes look bad for no reason after a nice letter singing the praises of Dr. Falcone & Mr. Huot.
Michelle Wilson November 10, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I would be interested in the response from the BOE. That sounds like a pretty far way to walk (in a snowstorm). You would think they would have contacted parents to have them pick up at the final stop. I am sure BOE has a lot on their plate. Hopefully they get back to you early next week.

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