Cher Smith says the issues with her five-year-old grandson Mitchell’s school bus started last week when his normal driver took a leave of absence. Last Thursday the bus was an hour late, on Friday it never arrived.
“I’m told they’re given a route sheet and she point blank didn’t follow it. She didn’t come up this street at all,” said Cher Smith.
Smith says after waiting for the kindergarten student for more than an hour, she went out to look for him on Friday.
“They were way at the end of this street, blocks and blocks away from the stop,” said Cher.
Mitchell told his grandma the bus driver got to 53rd and R Streets and told the remaining six kids to get off the bus.
“One of the children who lived at that last spot said come with me and I thanked her from the bottom of my heart, because who knows where they would have ended up,” said Cher.
One mother walked the children around to see if any of them recognized their homes. Two of the kids were three miles from home.
Cher says she wants to get to the bottom of the mishap because something much worse could have happened.
“In a situation like that he said I just wanted somebody to take me home and I fear he would ask anybody to take him home, which scares me,” said Cher.
On Tuesday, she finally got a supervisor from Student Transportation of America on the phone to ease some of her fears.
A statement from an Omaha Public Schools Spokesperson said, “We are aware of the situation and are currently looking into it with Student Transportation of America to find out exactly what happened, why it happened and determine what can be done to avoid a situation like this in the future. We will also be working directly with the family.”
“I’m hoping that they can be more alert of the children they have on the bus and know the homes they reside in. I want the children to be able to get on the bus and recognize their driver and know that they care about them,” said Cher.
Cher says the STA Supervisor told her that swift disciplinary action had been taken against the driver, but could not elaborate. On Tuesday, the bus was only ten minutes late.