Published online at GlobalTVEdmonton.com on February 9, 2011.
Linda Hoang, Global News: Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Board apologizes to mother after bus mix up left students stranded
The Edmonton Public School board is apologizing to a mother after a school bus “mix up” left her son and a number of other students late being picked up and dropped off from school.
Lisa Lohin’s nine-year-old son Dawson usually arrives home just after 3:30 p.m., but at that time on Tuesday afternoon, he still hadn’t come home.
When the clock struck past 4 p.m. and Dawson was still missing, Lohin, who is a mother of two special needs children, began to worry.
“I began phoning the school… no answer from the school. I tried phoning the bus services to find out any information, I couldn’t get through to their lines,” Lohin said.
“By quarter after four I started worrying even more about where he was. No phone calls from the school, no phone calls from the bus service.”
At 4:30 p.m., Lohin went looking for Dawson, arriving at McKee Elementary School at 10725 51 Ave., just before the bus did. The bus had arrived almost an hour later than it was scheduled to.
Lohin, who was furious at this point, found her son and took him with her, but was shocked to see that the driver didn’t even question that she was taking a child away from the bus.
“She didn’t even question who I was or anything, just let him go with me,” she said.
The situation left an angry and concerned Lohin wondering how something like that could happen.
On Wednesday morning, Lohin made more calls to the school and got an explanation.
“One of the workers (bus drivers) walked off her job and they didn’t notify the school until 20 (minutes) after 4 p.m,” Lohin said.
The school board confirmed that there had been a mix up causing a bus to be “significantly late” in picking up students.
“The contracted carrier had a driver that quit at noon time and there was a new driver on the route who was unfamiliar with the route,” explained Lorne Parker with Edmonton Public Schools.
But the bus arriving late wasn’t Lohin’s only concern.
“Some of the students were outside in the cold waiting for the bus, very confused and upset because they didn’t know what was going on,” she said.
Parker said according to school board policy, that shouldn’t have happened either.
“We expect that the children will be supervised if a bus is going to be late,” he said.
Now the school board has apologized for the incident and assured Lohin they’re investigating to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“We certainly will look into any of these kinds of situations in an effort to ensure it doesn’t happen again and we’ll be taking whatever action is required,” Parker said.
About a dozen students were left temporarily stranded because of the mix up.
Lohin is disappointed with the way the situation was handled and hopes it doesn’t happen again.
“I’m really apalled at the way everything had been dealt with including the safety of our children. Thankfully nobody was hurt,” she said.
“I just want to make sure that this is not going to happen again to anybody or anybody’s child and that parent’s don’t have to worry like that.”
With files from Ryan Ellis.