Missing bus concerns parents

November 5, 2009 5:00:48 PM PST
A bus driver gets lost on the way to Westbriar Middle School Wednesday morning, leaving students irked and parents unnerved. The school district still cannot account for where the bus might have gone during that time. For at least 20 minutes the bus driver wandered off route. School district officials cannot say exactly where the bus and the students were at the time -- only that they were somewhere in the vicinity where they were picked up.

A second HISD bus delivered the students to the school two hours late on Tuesday.

A parent who asked not to be identified said her child called her from the bus stop near Shadowbriar Elementary at 9am, saying the bus was an hour late. When it showed up a half hour later, she said her child called again.

"He tells me, 'The lady -- bus driver doesn't know where the school is and all the kids are rowdy. So she got upset, took us back to where she picked us up told to get out. So we got out and she left,'" she said.

HISD admits the driver was wandering and "just got turned around." A spokesperson told Eyewitness News that it was the first day on a new route for the driver. The GPS unit in the bus was not functioning, officials added.

The driver did find her way back to the bus stop at the elementary school where she then called a supervisor who came and led the bus to Westbriar Middle School. But this mother claims that didn't happen.

"My son says, 'She said get out,'" she said. "She told them to get out (Get off the bus?) Yes."

She said her son called her again from the elementary school. That not knowing what to do, she told him to walk home where his father would pick him up. He missed the entire day of school, she said, because they had no other way to get the boy to class.

This is not the first problem with children on this route being delivered to school late, something this mother finds equally disturbing.

"It's about his education -- about the class -- that he's missing out," she said.

The new stop was created because the bus on an old route was delivering children to school too late too frequently, school officials said.

The bus driver has been with the district for two years and has not had any prior driving incidents. She has been removed from the route now for not doing a dry run in the days before the new route as HISD requires, officials said.

Officials said that if a student was marked tardy or absent, that will be wiped off their record.

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