Sask. school division investigates after child left on school bus
7-year-old boy falls asleep and wakes up alone on bus
A school division in southern Saskatchewan is investigating after a seven-year-old boy was left on a bus last Friday, rather than being dropped off at the elementary school in Gravelbourg.
Barb Holmes said it was shortly after 9 a.m. C.S.T. when she got a call at home from the school's secretary asking her where her son Lachlyn was.
"No mom ever, ever, ever needs to hear that," Holmes said. "You know, is he kidnapped? Is he injured? Did he wander away? Did a stranger approach him?"
Holmes said that's when her husband called the bus driver at home and asked him to check his bus. She said the driver called back a few minutes later to say that he had found the boy and was taking him back to school.
Holmes spoke with her son by phone, after he arrived back at the school. "He was very, very upset. He wasn't cold yet, thank God, because I bundle him in a full snowsuit, hat, tuque, scarf, mitts - the whole thing - so luckily he wasn't cold but he was just very upset and scared," she said.
Holmes said she expected the bus driver to stop to apologize when he dropped her son off at the end of the day, but he did not. She said no one called from the school division until the next day.
Tony Baldwin, director of education with the Prairie South school division, said he spoke with the boy's mother on Saturday but admits that could have been handled better.
"You know, whenever something like this happens it's an emergency in the moment and then once the student was safely back at school and in the classroom, we kind of went on to other things," Baldwin said.
As for what happened on Friday, Baldwin says that is still under investigation. He said the school phoned the boy's parents when he did not arrive, as is the policy. But Baldwin says there are other rules that bus drivers are to follow.
"Once the driver gets to the school and the children get off the bus, the driver takes a walk through the bus just to make sure that there aren't kids left on the bus," Baldwin said.
"My sense is that there was something wrong with the process on the bus on Friday morning and once we establish that as a fact then we'll go from there and figure out what we need to do to make sure that we don't have the same problem again," he added.