Mom upset after child let off at wrong bus stop

September 11, 2000

Mom upset after child let off at wrong bus stop

By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

A Hagerstown parent said she was "livid" last week after her 4-year-old daughter was dropped off at the wrong bus stop and left wandering around by herself in Halfway Manor.


JoAnn Warfield of Virginia Avenue said her daughter, Krystal, was supposed to be taken to her baby sitter's house on Lakeside Drive after attending preschool at Hickory Elementary, but instead was dropped off a few blocks away at Halfway Manor.

Warfield said she wondered why Krystal was allowed to get off the bus without the driver first making sure an adult was there to pick her up. She said she fears a similar incident could happen and is considering keeping Krystal home from preschool.

"She could've just walked out into traffic," Warfield said. "There's a million things that could've went wrong."

Warfield said Krystal was found by an elementary student who lives in Halfway Manor and was taken to the complex's main office.


Chris Carter, the Washington County Board of Education's director of transportation, called the incident an "unfortunate miscommunication" and said the School Board has already taken steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.

He said he's talked with the bus driver and cleared up any questions about the route information.

The School Board's policy requires a parent or guardian of a preschool-age child to be at a bus stop when the child is getting off the bus. He said if a group of students are getting off at the same stop, it could be hard to determine if all children are being met by an adult. The School Board transports about 15,000 youngsters twice a day, he said.

"Apparently this child was on the wrong bus." Carter said. "Our driver let that child off thinking a parent or guardian was in a group of parents. We've tried to rectify the situation."

He said Krystal's bus route was changed a few days before the start of school, which could have added to the confusion.

Parents are required to fill out special transportation request forms if they'd like a child to be picked up or dropped off at another bus stop. Carter said he didn't think Warfield filled out a form for the change but said she may not have known about the policy.

While similar incidents have happened before, he said they don't happen often.

"It was a miscommunication all the way around," he said. "We try to do everything we can to make sure the communication is there for everyone. We don't want it to ever happen again."

Warfield said she has little trust in the school system's transportation department.

"It is a big deal," she said.

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