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Kids go missing for hours as bus driver takes ‘wrong turns,’ Kansas City parents say

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Some Kansas City students spent hours on the bus after the first day of school because their driver took “wrong turns” and had to be replaced in the middle of the route, officials said.

Meanwhile, parents waiting to pick up their children at the bus stop Monday didn’t know where their missing children had gone, media outlets report.

Jaymee Henderson, whose children attend Primitivo Garcia Elementary School, said she called the school and even tried to file a missing person’s report with police, according to KCTV. The bus that was supposed to drop off her children at 3:30 p.m. didn’t arrive until shortly before 7 p.m., she told the Kansas City TV station.

“There was a lot going through my mind,” Henderson told KCTV. “Are my kids OK? Did they get on the right bus?”

Other parents say they couldn’t get answers as they waited for their kids to arrive, WDAF reported.

“Once we found out that the kids aren’t even at the school, we’re trying to find them,” Jordyn Harris told the Kansas City TV station. “Where is this bus?”

While a 30-minute delay across all Kansas City Public Schools bus routes was partially to blame, the driver for a bus that left from Primitivo Garcia Elementary School had other problems, school officials said in a Facebook post. The driver took “wrong turns” and had to be replaced by another operator in the middle of the route, according to the post.

The new bus driver “safely and quickly delivered” the remaining students on the bus, dropping off the last children about 7 p.m., according to the Facebook post.

Harris said children “ran off the bus to their parents in tears and upset,” according to WDAF.

“The operator in this case failed to follow several policies and procedures,” officials said on Facebook.

“I was personally very concerned and completely understood the worries expressed by our parents,” Primitivo Garcia Elementary School principal Rejeanne Alomenu wrote on Facebook. “I apologize for the distress that this caused all of our families. It is simply unacceptable for this type of thing to happen.”

The school bus was operated by Student Transportation of America, officials said. WDAF reported the driver was fired.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.
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