Edmonton Public Schools says it is working with a school bus operator after several children were dropped off at the wrong bus stop several blocks away from their designated location after school earlier this week.
On Tuesday afternoon, Rosie Pettis said she went to pick up her three young children — aged five, seven, and nine who attend John A. McDougall School — from their bus stop in the area of 117 Avenue and 95 Street, but they were nowhere to be found.
“The parents were there. No kids on the bus,” Pettis said in an interview with 630 CHED.
Growing concerned, Pettis said other parents waiting for their kids used the GPS tracker on the Edmonton Public Schools app to find the bus’ location. She said it appeared the bus was driving around in circles, lost.
“I turned around and we saw our kids walking up toward us. I lost my temper. Like, what the hell happened? Not to be rude,” Pettis said.
The mother of three said seven children were dropped off about seven blocks away at 101 Street and 116 Avenue. They had to cross the busy 101 and 97 streets on their own.
“That is seven blocks away with no adult,” Pettis said. “I was very disappointed.
“My son was really upset. He is only five and he was really upset because he doesn’t cross a busy street by himself unless there’s an adult… so he was kind of scared.”
Pettis said she talked to her daughter, who said they tried to tell the driver where to go but he didn’t listen. Pettis called the school and said they offered to have a chaperone ride on the bus to ensure the kids got home safely. She said her kids were traumatized by the situation.
In a statement, the bus operator Southland Transportation said it is aware of the Sept. 7 incident which saw students dropped off at an incorrect location.
“We have thoroughly reviewed the incident with the driver, as well as the parents of the children involved,” general manager Cory Sandstra said.
“We acknowledge that this situation is upsetting, and we sincerely apologize for the impact it has had on the students and their families. Corrective measures and processes are in place to prevent future occurrences. As always, the safety of our passengers is our utmost priority, ensuring that all our passengers get safely home.”
In a statement, Edmonton Public Schools said “we recognize this situation would have been upsetting for students and families, and this wasn’t the experience we hoped to provide students to start the school year.”
“We are committed to providing safe and efficient transportation for students who depend on buses to get to and from school.”
The school board added its division student transportation team is working with Southland to address the situation.
With files from Kevin Robertson, 630 CHED.