The first day of first grade at the Grieco School in Englewood was going to be stressful enough for Kayden Kinckle, a 6-year-old double leg amputee.
Things got more difficult when his bus with a wheelchair lift didn’t show, said his mom, Nicole Sessoms.
For the past two years, Kayden has been riding the same bus with a wheelchair lift provided by First Student Inc. while a student at the Quarels School. When Sessoms called First Student earlier this week to inquire why the bus wasn't showing up, supervisor Cathy Nunziato told her the company did not have a bus with a wheelchair lift for Kayden this year, Sessoms said.
In addition to the pointing, staring and skepticism from Kayden's peers, his mother worries that the stress of the bus problems will make adjusting to first grade at his new school even more difficult.
"I have so many other things to deal with with Kayden," the worried mom said. "Hoping he's okay... [with] being in a new school where a lot of kids don’t know his situation. It's overwhelming.
"I don’t want sympathy. I want him to be treated fairly."
Cathy Nunziato of First Student Inc. was out of the office Thursday afternoon when Daily Voice called. Englewood Schools administrator Cheryl Balletto began working as a liaison between Sessoms and First Student on Wednesday evening to provide a bus for Kayden Thursday, but the bus failed to show again, Sessoms said.
While trying to reach Balletto Thursday morning, Sessoms said she was transferred Heather Waldron in the transportation office.
Daily Voice placed one call and email each to Balletto and Waldron each on Thursday.
"I’ve learned these last three days people have no idea what it is to have a child that has a challenge," Sessoms said. "I’m fighting for him to get on a bus just to go to school.
"If I didn’t have a car he would be at home."
This story is part of an occasional series following North Jersey families with special needs or differently abled children who say they have been experiencing problems with the school districts' provided transportation systems.
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