The bus driver who dropped a Spokane kindergartner off at the wrong stop has been fired, Durham officials confirmed Thursday.
A Durham spokesperson said there was a meeting with all bus drivers where they were reminded to check student ID's and to double check their drop off locations.
Teresa Valliere’s daughter was let off at the wrong bus stop, something that shouldn't have happened.
In this situation, the school district claimed the bus driver was at fault. Fortunately, an alert parent nearby saw that the girl was lost and took her to this school for help.
“Imagine...even just for less than an hour...having no idea where your little one was,” Valliere said.
For Valliere, that horror played out Monday afternoon. Valliere's daughter, 5-year-old April, had just started kindergarten. She had been riding the bus to and from school, but that all changed Monday.
"I asked the bus driver, 'Where is April?' And he did a walkthrough of the bus and said 'She is not on here,” she explained.
Valliere said she then frantically began calling the school and Durham, the bus company that contracts with Spokane public schools.
"I was feeling lost and terrified, because I didn't know where she was," said Valliere.
Valliere said the company told her they didn't know where April was and her school confirmed that she left on the right bus.
Valliere then went to her daughter's school and it wouldn't be until close to an hour later that she got this message:
"Hi Teresa, this is Steve Barnes, principal at Lidgerwood Elementary. I have your daughter April,”
It turned out that April was let off at the wrong stop, close to 10 blocks from where she should have been let off. An alert parent nearby saw that April appeared to be lost and took her to Lidgerwood elementary.
"She was in a part of town that she never goes to and that we never go to," said Valliere.
Spokane Public Schools said that for kindergartners, bus drivers are required to make sure a parent is present when the child is dropped off. In April’s case, it appears at the driver failed to do that.
Some SPS schools use technology that allows parents to track where their kids are on the bus. That wouldn't have mattered in this case, since Kindergartners are supposed to be released to parents.
"I'm not happy that he lost his job, but if that's what it came down to for Durham to make that decision, then I support it," Valliere said.
Valliere said she's not taking any more risks and will be driving April to school now. She's just glad that a fellow parent saw her daughter and that the principal of a different school was able to contact her.