Washington County School Board Vice President "We don't want anything like that to happen again"

October 17, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

More than a week after a 5-year-old took the wrong bus and was dropped off two miles from his home, a Washington County Board of Education member said he doesn't want anything like that to happen again.

Board Vice President Wayne D. Ridenour said he thinks some type of policy or procedure will be created as a result of the Oct. 8 incident, but he said board members want to make sure they know what happened before they take action.

"We want to make sure we do know what did happen before we dive into the deep end of the pool," he said.

The kindergartner is a student at Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education. School system officials have said that a miscommunication between Funkstown staff led the boy to board the wrong bus. He rode the wrong bus until the second-to-last stop, which was in the Saint James Housing development along Sharpsburg Pike. The bus driver let him off there, about two miles from his home in the Cross Creek development.


The kindergartner was found in the Food Lion parking lot, along Sharpsburg Pike.

Board Members Donna Brightman, Ruth Anne Callaham and William H. Staley said they were instructed by the school system's legal counsel not to discuss the incident.

Attempts to reach Board Member Bernadette Wagner Wednesday were unsuccessful.

When asked if the board was considering any policies or procedures to ensure this would not happen to other students, they said they were advised not to discuss it because it involves personnel matters.

Board Member Paul W. Bailey also said he would not discuss the incident, citing personnel matters. Board President Roxanne R. Ober said the board traditionally has not discussed personnel matters.

"Right now, anything that's said could maybe affect a personnel decision, so it's a real sensitive issue," Brightman said.

Callaham said the matter was discussed Tuesday during a meeting that was closed to the public. She said she was unable to say what the board talked about during that meeting.

"We are keenly interested in all aspects that surround this," she said. "And that certainly would include policies and procedures."

Staley said that school system staff let the board know some information about the incident and that it was being investigated.

"We haven't really gotten into the nuts and bolts," he said. "I don't know about the incident at all other than what I've read in the paper."

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