For parents, getting their kids to and from school can be difficult. This is especially true if they do not live close to the elementary school. Depending on their schedule, some parents can drive their kids to school. In other cases, schools organize pickups with school buses. In this case, parents rely on the school to ensure their kids arrive at school and home safe and sound. But what happens when a four-year-old boy is left on a school bus?
First of all, I can only imagine what the parents were going through when they heard the news. Second of all, schools should have bulletproof pickup and drop-off systems with their school buses.
Last Friday, four-year-old boy John Robertson was heading to his house in North Kessock from Munlochy Primary School. Unfortunately, Robertson did not get off at his scheduled stop. This went unnoticed and he ended up at D&E Coaches’ Inverness Longman depot. This is three miles from where he actually lives.
Robertson told his parents that when he missed his stop, he hoped the driver would notice him when it stopped at the depot. After waiting, Robertson found a way to open the door and started to walk home.
D&E Coaches are hired as one of Highland Council’s preferred school transport companies. They expressed their sincere apologies and reported that they dismissed the driver. At first, Roberston’s parents, Nikki and John, thought their son was late because of bad weather.
It was only the fifth time that Robertson had taken the school bus. The bus transports eight children to and from the school. On most days, Robertson’s parents usually take him to and from school. Unfortunately, their car had recently broken down.
When Robertson had still not arrived home, his parents became worried and called the bus company. They were informed that John was dropped off at his regular stop. They received a call back informing them that John never got on the bus. The confusion led them to begin calling friends, family and the police in an effort to find their son.
Mr. Robertson told BBC Radio Scotland’s John Beattie that he was speaking to the police when they received the good news that John had been found. Mr. Robertson also said that his son decided to take the Kessock Bridge to get home. He added that his son told him that he crossed a few roads, which is where two teachers spotted him. A four-year-old boy is left on a school bus and what does he do? He puts on his big boy pants and tries to find a way home!
Apparently, John was very shaken up and cold when the teachers spotted him. I can only imagine what this four-year-old boy was going through at this time. But after calmly persuading John, the two teachers were able to get him into the car and drive him to the police station. Mr. Robertson is very proud of his son. But since the incident, John has been getting rides to and from school from a family friend.
A full investigation was conducted, and since the incident, the company has implemented a new Driver Awareness program in School Contracts. No school bus driver will be licensed unless they pass the program. A spokesman for D&E Coaches made a statement that expressed the company’s deepest apologies to the Robertson family. D&E Coaches have been providing school transport for over 20 years. This is the first time an incident like this has occurred to them.
So as a parent, you never want to hear the statement “a four-year-old boy is left on a school bus.” Even if the child wasn’t yours, you know the pain that comes with it. There have been schools that are trying to implement more school buses. But after an incident like this, how can you put trust in this type of transportation?