School bus driver drops 4-year-old at homeless shelter

8:13 AM, Aug 31, 2012   |    comments
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LadyOurlove McInnis with her mother

MINNEAPOLIS  - A Minneapolis preschooler ended up at a homeless shelter miles from where she lives on her first day of school Wednesday.

LadyAshley Myers told KARE her 4-year-old daughter, LadyOurlove McInnis, is still traumatized by the incident.

"My daughter has not slept in the bed with me since she was 2-years-old. Last night, she slept in a bed with me because she was so upset," Myers told KARE.

"She didn't want to school today, but I told her it's okay to go to school. Mommy will be there to drop you off and I'll be there to pick you up."

The girl started in the High Five accelerated preschool program at Bryn Mawr Elementary in Minneapolis Wednesday, and said she enjoyed it.  The trouble came at the end of the day.

"She was supposed to be dropped off here at the corner at 2:44 p.m. so I went out there at 2:28, just in case the bus was running early," Myers explained.

By 3 p.m. Myers was worried and called the District's transportation hotline.

"I called and asked them, 'Where's my daughter?' They couldn't tell me where my daughter was at, so they put me on hold!"

It turned out LadyOurlove had been dropped off at Mary's Place, a homeless shelter on the north edge of Downtown Minneapolis.  It was the final stop on the school bus route, and LadyOurlove exited the bus with the homeless children from Bryn Mawr.

Later her district bus ID tag, which is normally pinned to a child's backpack or clothing, was found in the school's parking lot.  Her mother had also pinned a homemade ID card to the girl, containing emergency phone numbers. That was also missing. 

"They told me that they wanted to put her in a taxi cab and send her home," Myers said. "I told her, 'You're not going to put my four-year-old in a taxi cab!'"

District communications director Rachel Hicks told KARE, "It's unfortunate that this happened, but we are thankful that the student was safe and supervised during the entirety or the incident."

She said drivers are supposed to call the district's central office if a child is dropped at the wrong bus stop. In this case, however, the staff at Mary's Place called to say a child who doesn't live at the shelter had gotten off the school bus there.

Hicks said the driver will undergo more training to make sure he understands the full protocol when it comes to dealing with riders who've become separated from their ID tags.

It's not the first time a district school bus has left a child at the wrong stop. Most cases only come to the public's attention when parents call the news media.

Hicks noted that the district is running 267 different bus routes daily, and that this early in the school year the drivers have not had time to familiarize themselves with all the new students.

LadyAshley Myers, who's planning to become a school bus driver herself in the future, would like to see a stronger response against the driver involved in her daughter's situation.

"I feel like the driver should be fired. All they did was write him up, but a write-up is not good enough."

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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