Paige Allen had the scare of a lifetime when she watched her 5-year-old daughter’s school bus fly past her as she waited at the end of her driveway.
According to Allen, it was her daughter’s first day of kindergarten, so when the bus driver never stopped to drop the little girl off, she had no idea what to think.Paige Allen
She told Dearly:
“Nobody knew where my daughter was. The driver claimed to have dropped her off at home, according to the school, but since I was at the end of the driveway and saw her bus go by, I knew he didn’t.”
When Allen explained to her daughter’s school that the driver never dropped her daughter off, it admitted that it had no idea where her child could be and told her she needed to get in contact with the bus garage for more answers.
After 25 minutes of sheer panic, one of Allen’s neighbors discovered the 5-year-old at a different bus stop about a mile away from her home.
Even more, her daughter had told the bus driver that she was at the wrong house. Allen explained Dearly:
“When I talked to her about what happened, she told me that she told the driver, ‘This isn’t my driveway. I don’t live here.’ And he still let her exit the bus.”
Allen called the bus garage to see what was being done about the incident. She said:
“I called the bus garage and spoke to a man who told me the driver would be fired, but an hour and a half later, he called back after talking to the driver and informed me he would only have a three-day suspension for retraining.”
A three-day suspension seemed like a light punishment for the man who put Allen’s daughter in harm’s way. She told Dearly:
“He put my daughter’s life in danger. She is only 5. Anything could have happened to her. We live on a state route, traffic is fast and frequent with many blinding hills and turns. Anybody could have picked her up, and she could have wandered trying to get home and been hit by a car or gotten lost in the woods surrounding the long, country highway.”
Now, her daughter has fears about getting back on the bus and even has fears about going to school, which breaks her mom’s heart.
Allen is not sure what to do to ensure that her daughter — or any other child, for that matter — never has to experience being dropped at the wrong place again. But she is adamant that something has to be done.
The worried mother told Dearly that she wants to make sure the bus driver, who left her daughter lost and in tears, gets fired:
“This cannot happen, this is not just a simple mistake easily fixed. My worst nightmare came true today. For 25 minutes, I had to search for my daughter when the person in charge of getting her home safely failed to do so.
They expect me to let her get back on the bus with said driver again in three days without fear for her safety. This man should not be permitted to continue serving the Union County bus garage in Sturgis, Kentucky. I’m sorry, but I won’t stop until he is removed from his position. This could have been so much worse. […] We trust our schools to keep them safe and get them home. Today, sadly, that did not happen.”
As 14News reports, the school board is now taking extra steps to make sure all bus drivers know exactly where each child is supposed to be dropped off. According to a statement released by Union County spokesperson Malinda Beauchamp:
We’ve made sure that for today, in addition to our procedure where Kindergarten and First grade wear name tags with their bus number on it, we’re adding their address to all of those tags to avoid any confusion on drop off.
The school board did not confirm or deny whether the bus driver in question will keep his job, but it did say an investigation into what happened is still ongoing.