First-Day Bus Incident

You may have heard news accounts of an incident involving one of our kindergarten students on the way home from school, Tuesday. It was an unfortunate circumstance and we certainly don’t take this kind of error lightly. Apologies were made several times to the parents and a complete investigation of the incident was conducted first thing this morning. It’s unfortunate, however, that local radio and television outlets chose to tell an incomplete version of the story but we realize the district can do nothing to prevent them from doing so.

We do want our parents and members of the community to know accurately what transpired and how it was handled. Here is a step-by-step account:

1. The youngster, understandably, got confused with two different bus lines and ended up on the wrong bus. Staff members assigned to check attendance made an error and unfortunately the mistake was not corrected before the buses departed the Early Childhood Center.

2. The bus the student ended up on had only two stops and it was noticed by one of the other riders before the final stop that she was on the wrong bus. At the stop, the driver was alerted as he ensured each child leaving his bus was either met by an adult or had another child to walk home with. That’s when it was clear the student had definitely ridden the wrong bus.

3. The parent of another child recognized this young student and took charge of her while calling the parents to alert them. At not time was this student left at a stop or “abandoned” as one local radio station decided to put it.

4. The child’s mother called the transportation supervisor to discuss the error. Forty-five minutes later, the child’s step-father discussed it by phone with the superintendent. We certainly apologized for the mixup and pledged to investigate what happened and why so a fix would be put in place to prevent any further incidents.

5. A full investigation was conducted and the errors already pointed out in this post were discovered. Further conversations with the parents have been held and both the principal and transportation supervisor are personally ensuring that the errors are not repeated.

We care very much for the safety and welfare of each and every child at Godfrey-Lee and we empathize with our parents when something like this happens. No one wants to be the mother or father who is waiting at the bus stop and their child does not come off the bus.

Once again, we apologize for this incident and look forward to providing and even better transportation service for our students.

About David Britten

Retired U.S. Army Officer, former elementary, middle and high school principal, currently serving as a public school superintendent.
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