Parents want answers after school bus errors blemish back-to-school week
Published Thursday, September 4, 2014 10:40AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 4, 2014 11:28AM EDT
The first week of school got off to a rough start for some students in Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto, after a few school bus slip-ups, including an incident that left a disabled student stranded at his high school hours after classes were dismissed.
When 16-year-old Brian Noel didn't show up after his first day of high school this week his parents grew worried. Noel lives with cerebral palsy and can't walk or talk, and is dependent on those around him.
George Noel said his son's classes end at 2:30 p.m., but Brian's teacher called him at about 3:45 p.m. to tell him that a school bus hadn't arrived to pick up his son.
School officials said they were in contact with the school bus company, Stock Transportation, to figure out what was going on.
"They phoned again at about a quarter to five and said there was still no bus," George Noel told CTV Edmonton.
The bus company eventually called the school at about 5 p.m., saying it would take at least another hour before a bus would arrive. That's when two school aides decided to drive the teen home themselves.
Brian Noel finally arrived home more than three hours after classes had ended. His parents said the delay interfered with his medication and eating schedule.
In addition to being concerned for his son's safety, George Noel said the bus company should have called to let them know what was going on.
"It's not his teacher's job, nor is it his aide's job, to transport him back and forth. And it is someone's job to do that," he said.
Stock Transportation declined an interview request from CTV Edmonton, but said in a statement that it regretted the error. "We are relieved (Brian Noel) was always accompanied by school personnel. We have reached out to apologize to the family directly," the statement said.
The Edmonton Catholic School District said the incident stemmed from miscommunication between the company and its driver.
Ottawa students return home two-and-a-half hours late
Ottawa-area mom Sheila Howard was frantic on Tuesday after her children's school bus was two-and-a-half hours late dropping off her kids.
Her son, Adler, and daughter, Mazy, were supposed to be dropped off just after 4 p.m., but didn’t arrive until 6:40 p.m., she said.
Howard is furious and wants an explanation. "I’m upset. I need answers. I don't know why my kids were on that bus for two hours and forty minutes in total," she told CTV Ottawa.
The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority said the bus driver made a mistake and missed the stop, but followed proper protocol which is to continue on the route and drop off the children who missed their stop at the end.
"As often happens on these very long routes, drivers are human and they make mistakes, and he missed the stop," OSTA General Manager Vicky Kyriaco told CTV Ottawa.
But Howard said she wasn’t able to reach anyone at the school, the OSTA or the school board for more than an hour.
The OSTA said a company representative called Howard to say the children would be late, but Howard said the call came 90 minutes after the scheduled drop-off time.
Toronto students dropped off at wrong school
Meanwhile, two Toronto students were greeted by teachers and principals on Tuesday morning with one slight problem: they were at the wrong school.
The Toronto District School Board confirmed to CTV Toronto that the children were dropped off at Victoria Village Public School in the city's east end, but were supposed to be going to nearby Broadlands Public School.
TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said staff at Victoria Village realized the mix-up, and the principal drove the students to the right school.
Bird said that the school board followed up with the family and the bus company to make sure the error won't happen again. He said that the children were back at their appropriate school no later than 10 a.m.
With files from CTV Edmonton, CTV Ottawa and CTV Toronto