Yesterday we had a serious incident where a Kindergarten student remained on a bus after it was returned to the driver’s yard following the morning drop off. The child exited the bus and found their way to the road in a rural area. A concerned citizen intervened and the child was brought safely to the RCMP.
Drivers are trained to do a mandatory walk through of their bus to ensure it is empty prior to leaving it. Our initial review indicates this was not done. In addition, schools call home to confirm any student absences. Our normal procedure is for schools to start to make in-person phone calls at 8:45 AM each day beginning with the youngest children first. The delay in noting the absence was in part due to the large number of absences that day in the school as a result of several buses not running due to varying road conditions.
We immediately launched an investigation and will be reviewing our transportation practices/equipment as well as our student absence reporting process all with a view to improve student safety. We are also examining all of our training, school bus safety practices, administrative procedures and will take the steps necessary to ensure we reduce any identified risk to students. Upon completion of the review, we will take all necessary actions to improve student safety.
Our actions and decisions are guided by our commitment to the safety of St. Paul School Division students. The driver has been removed from his duties pending further investigation. We will also fully cooperate should there be an RCMP investigation.
We are thankful for the safe return of this child and the swift response from the concerned citizen. We take this situation to heart and this matter has our full attention. We have been in regular contact with the student’s family and will support them in any way we can.
Superintendent of Schools