A 4-year-old girl from Minneapolis, Minnesota, was dropped off at a homeless shelter miles away from her home by her school bus driver on the first day of school.
The girl, LadyOurlove McInnis, had boarded the proper school bus, but the tag affixed to her backpack indicating which stop she was meant to be dropped off at had fallen off her bag in the school parking lot. According to the girl’s mother, she had also pinned a home made emergency contact tag to her daughter’s bag.
LadyOurlove had just finished her first day at the High Five accelerated preschool program at Bryn Mawr Elementary. What had started as a good day turned traumatic for the little girl.
“She was supposed to be dropped off here at the corner at 2:44 p.m. so I went out there at 2:28, just in case the bus was running early,” the girl’s mother, LadyAshley Myers, told KARE 11.
When there was no sign of her daughter by 3 p.m., LadyAshley called the district’s transportation hot-line seeking information.
“I called and asked them, ‘Where’s my daughter?’ They couldn’t tell me where my daughter was at, so they put me on hold!,” she told KARE 11.
The school bus driver had LadyOurlove get off the bus at the last stop on the route, Mary’s Place, a homeless shelter at the north edge of Downtown Minneapolis.
District communications director Rachel Hicks told KARE 11 that the school’s policy is that the bus driver is supposed to call the district’s central office if a child is dropped off at the wrong bus stop or the driver doesn’t know where a child is meant to be dropped off.
It was the shelter, however, that contacted the district to let them know they had an extra child with them that wasn’t expected.
“They told me that they wanted to put her in a taxi cab and send her home,” LadyAshley told KARE 11. “I told her, ‘You’re not going to put my four-year-old in a taxi cab!'”
LadyAshley went to pick her daughter up and explained that even though her daughter was screaming for her mother, the officials did not initially hand her over.
Hicks told KARE 11 that the bus driver would undergo more training so that he would be certain of the district’s protocol when it came to children riding the bus without their ID tags. She went on to explain that the school district runs 267 different bus routes each day and the drivers hadn’t had the opportunity to become familiar with all of their passengers yet.
“It’s unfortunate that this happened, but we are thankful that the student was safe and supervised during the entirety or the incident,” Hicks told KARE 11.
LadyAshley, who disagrees with the action taken by the district, told KARE 11, “My daughter has not slept in the bed with me since she was two years old. Last night, she slept in a bed with me because she was so upset.”
“She didn’t want to school today, but I told her it’s okay to go to school. Mommy will be there to drop you off and I’ll be there to pick you up.”
LadyAshley, who plans to become a bus driver herself, told KARE 11, “I feel like the driver should be fired. All they did was write him up, but a write-up is not good enough.”