The following Op-Ed was written by a distraught resident-mother-of a child abandoned on the road by a school bus driver in Livingstone, Montana this past Tuesday, November 2nd. She was extremely upset and wanted her message to be known concerning this appalling matter.
On Tuesday, November 2nd, my 8yr old was kicked off our Livingston school bus and left on the side of the road ALONE to fend for himself for forgetting his MASK. Believing they were safely on the bus, I went and headed to work, “trusting” in the school system and our schools’ transportation department. However, the bus driver never asked our son if he had an extra mask, nor was he offered one, or asked to pull up his shirt, coat, use a glove, hat, anything to cover his face. Instead, he was ORDERED to get off. The bus driver then closed the door and left him!
Though our oldest son was with his brother, he was ahead of him on the bus and didn’t notice he had been kicked off and left on the side of the road until the bus driver took off. At the next stop, our oldest son went to the bus driver asking him where his brother was, and the driver told him he wouldn’t let his brother on because he didn’t have a mask. He told the bus driver that he needed to get his brother and the bus driver let him off. The driver proceeded to load the rest of the kids at that stop and then left without either of my children and both of them to fend for themselves.
Our oldest son took off running down the road in the direction of the last bus stop only to find his brother gone. Now panic set in our oldest son as his little brother was nowhere in sight. So he started running up a different street where he spotted his younger brother headed in the direction of our house. When he reached him, he was sobbing hysterically and extremely traumatized. As a matter of fact, this incident has traumatized our entire family!
Thankfully, as they were getting back to our house, their father was pulling up after working a 48-hour shift and was getting home; otherwise, they would have been locked out of the house in the cold as well. He asked them what they were doing, and they proceeded to tell him what had happened. He was beyond livid. He got our youngest son calmed down, grabbed his mask, and took them to school. He then called the transportation department and spoke with the manager, who told him it was not their problem nor fault for what had taken place. My husband brought up the fact that it was child endangerment along with other factors since they are technically in the care of our children and that the bus driver left them. The bus manager literally laughed at him over the phone and said it was “far from that” and there “was nothing he could do.”
On my lunch, I proceeded to make phone calls and finally contacted the Livingston School Superintendent and let her know what happened. She seemed appalled and apologized and let me know that this would be taken care of. In a conversation with her later in the day, she let me know that there was a meeting planned for the next morning with the bus driver and his manager, and actions would be taken, and she would get back to me. I didn’t hear anything for two days until I made a phone call wanting to know what was going on. I was told that there was a different bus driver on their route (which my kids already told me) and that she couldn’t go into details concerning the driver in question as “it is personal information.”
Now isn’t that something?
I am putting this out to draw public attention to the fact that our school system is failing to communicate about our children, their safety, and what is morally and ethically correct. I considered our school system safe, and I “trusted” them with the care of my children. But when that system fails to provide basic safety and endangers our children, there should be an outcry, and things need to change! As parents, we NEED to be involved in everything that has to do with the education of our children, as we are our children’s advocates.