Mother fed up with Stock Transportation, makes back-up plan
Published Friday, October 5, 2018 9:47PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, October 5, 2018 9:48PM ADT
A month into the new school year, a Halifax-area parent has a message for families struggling with continuing school bus problems: have a backup plan.
Deanne Van Wageningen picked up her son from his elementary school on Friday, after two days of frustration with Stock Transportation.
It started Wednesday, when her six-year-old was let off the bus at his stop after school – without her there.
“It was raining, so I left the house eight minutes before his bus was scheduled to pull in, to go out with an umbrella and wait for my child to get off the bus,” said Van Wageningen.“When I got to the end of the driveway, he was walking up from far down the street by himself.”
Furious, she tried to reach Stock and says she left seven voicemails, none of which were answered. Then, on Thursday, she managed to meet someone at the company's local office and was shocked at the response she got.
“He informed me that as of the first day of grade one, any child can not only get off the bus without an adult, but will be let off, will be asked to get off the bus, even if there's no adult there to get them,” Van Wageningen said.
In an email to CTV News, Stock Transportation's Chief Operating Officer, Terri Lowe says Stock’s policy is if a driver is at a stop and there is no parent or guardian to pick up a student in Grade 1 or younger, the driver is supposed to alert dispatch, and then return the student back to school.
“I think the right hand's not speaking to the left hand maybe at Stock, I don't know,” Van Wageningen said.
After our initial interview, someone from Stock called Van Wageningen to clarify that her son should have been brought back to the school.
After a month of problems, she says one thing is clear.
“Any parent who hears this message, that has a child in Grade 1 or 2, have a back-up plan with their kids, so that their kids, when they get off the bus, and something has come up and they're not there, that their child knows what to do to stay safe,” Van Wageningen said.
She has a back-up plan for her son now, but she hopes he won't have to use it.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.