Changes coming to school district after child left alone at bus stop: ‘It could have been tragic’

Select school bus drivers in Mississippi are expected to be retrained after a kindergartner was abandoned at a bus stop. (Souce: WLOX)
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX/Gray News) - A school district in Mississippi will be changing to a new system for students taking the bus after a situation leaves a kindergartner wandering through a neighborhood.

The Gulfport School District reports it will start using a new bus card system in October, where students will swipe their identification cards as they get on and off the bus.

According to WLOX, parents will also be able to access their student’s bus information through an app.

Gulfport School District Superintendent Glen East said transportation workers are going to be retrained and more after what happened.

“It’s a personnel issue. It could run anywhere from retraining or termination depending on the service, response and employee,” East said.

The situation that has called for the new system happened last week. Officials said a 5-year-old child was dropped off at a school bus stop with the boy found later wandering through the neighborhood.

“It could have been tragic,” East said.

The Gulfport School District said its protocols call for a school bus driver to not drop off a kindergartner without an adult at the bus stop. But the student’s mother, Cara Burrows, says she wasn’t there last week, and her son was let off the bus anyway.

“It’s a terrifying thing. Getting my son home with him telling us that strangers were talking to him,” Burrows said.

The boy’s parents are calling for the bus driver to be terminated after they said they found their child walking after nearly an hour of them driving around.

“I feel like if you’ve been a bus driver for two years, you don’t need to be retrained in child safety,” Burrows said. “This is something very major. Why does this man still have his job?”

School administrators said they are taking this situation seriously and have an ongoing investigation along with the upcoming system changes.

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