Parent outrage grows after school bus driver delays student drop-off
On Tuesday morning, Alicia McCann dropped her son off at the school bus.
"The driver instructed him when they arrived at the school, and the other three students, to sit and stay on the bus."
The bus driver then drove away with the four children still on the bus and later parked on the side of a road.
"So my son called me and I asked him to put me on speakerphone so I could speak to the driver," said McCann. "I asked him where he was going and what he was doing?"
The driver would not answer, so McCann told her son: "get off the bus and he said I can't because he has turned the steering wheel and I can't reach the button.
She called the school and then the RCMP. The Mounties told CTV, they investigated the matter and they will not file charges.
Sabrina Chase's 13-year-old daughter was also on the bus.
"If it hadn't been for the kids calling," said Chase. "We would've never known this is happening. We would've had gotten calls saying that our kids are not in school."
The driver's employer, Student Transportation of Canada, eventually ordered him to take the four students to the school.
"The safety of the students we transport remains our highest priority and it has always been the policy of STC to adhere to the highest safety standards in each and every aspect of our operations," STC president Christopher Harwood said in a statement. "This driver did not meet those standards and has been removed from all routes as we investigate this incident."
The Halifax Regional Centre for Education also said the driver in this situation did break protocol by not letting the children off the bus at their designated school stop on Nov. 16.
"This is not acceptable and we share the concerns of the families involved," the HRCE's Deborah Waines-Bauersaid via email. "The driver's actions do not align with HRCE's safety protocols and policies. As a result, the driver is no longer operating for HRCE and a new driver has been assigned to this route."
Both McCann and Chase are concerned the driver could be allowed to drive other school bus routes in the future. According to McCann, HRCE staff told her some students had left candy on the bus, stuck to the floor the day before, and that was possibly a reason why the bus driver acted in this way.