LEWISTON, Idaho — A 5-year-old from north-central Idaho spent a half-hour alone in a parking lot after she was left on a school bus.
Miranda Main said her daughter, a Lewiston kindergartner, normally takes a bus to another school and then switches buses for the remainder of her ride home. But Main said that last Wednesday, neither the bus nor her daughter showed up.
“I waited for about half an hour, then started calling,” Main told the Lewiston Tribune. “I called the bus barn and got an answering machine, then I called the school, and they said she did get on the bus.”
After she made a panicked phone call to the school district’s emergency line, workers found her daughter alone on the first bus, which was parked at the district’s bus barn. She had been sitting on the bus for about 30 minutes, Main said, and may have fallen asleep.
“The driver didn’t have her switch buses at Centennial, and she stayed on the same bus, which was a totally different route,” Main said.
Lewiston School District Assistant Superintendent Bob Donaldson said he can’t talk about specific incidents, but similar situations have happened in the past.
“It’s very seldom, and we take it very seriously,” he said.
Bus drivers are required to keep a checklist of students as they board and exit the bus, and they’re also required to check every seat after they park, Donaldson said.
“We go through routine training and really harp on that and make sure that’s understood and the drivers understand that’s a responsibility they have,” he said.
He wouldn’t say if the driver of the bus that Main’s daughter was on was disciplined.
“If the steps aren’t followed or a student isn’t where they need to be, we take that very seriously,” Donaldson said.
The district has been apologetic and is providing an aide to make sure her daughter is on the right bus, Main said, but her daughter is still nervous about riding.
“They said they’ll watch her pretty carefully,” Main said. “Mistakes happen, and I understand that.”