Olivia Lee says her son was supposed to be dropped off by a Cleveland Metropolitan School bus driver at his daycare at 4:22 p.m. He didn’t arrive until close to 6 p.m.
“When I got to the daycare at 5:30, one of the daycare teachers was down there waiting for him like she does all the time,” Lee said. “She’s like, ‘he is not here.”’
The mother was extremely worried and called the CMSD transportation department.
“First they say our bus doesn’t go there,” Lee said. “We said, ‘yes, it does. He has been going on this bus route for over a year.”’
She said eventually she was told the bus driver made a wrong turn and would be there shortly. She said the bus finally arrived around 6 pm. She said her son was fine but she was upset when she heard the bus driver’s explanation.
“She said, ‘I didn’t know he was there,’” Lee said. “She said she didn’t know he was on the bus until she got back to the garage.”
We reached out to CMSD and received the following statement from a district spokesperson.
“The substitute driver at first reported that the child was not on the bus. But when a dispatcher asked the driver to double check, the driver found the student asleep and took the child safely to the assigned stop. The child was never left unattended. It is a department policy to make sure that all parent concerns are resolved. A manager took her complaint but will place a follow-up call.
We take all concerns about safety, service and communication very seriously. An attendant has been assigned temporarily to the bus to help monitor passengers and stops. Also, it is department policy to make sure that all parent concerns are resolved. We will do everything we can to fulfill that obligation.”
Lee added that her son normally sits in the front of the bus. She also said that immediately after the incident she emailed the school asking to find out what happened but when she did not receive a response after five days, she contacted the I-Team.
A few hours after we started calling, Lee received a call back.
“It’s very scary to think my 4 year-old is on a bus driving around the west side of Cleveland,” Lee said. “ And they don’t even know he is on the bus.”