School Bus Driver Ditches Sick Kid on Side of Road

school bus driver leaves sick kid

I've heard school bus horror stories before -- and even experienced a minor issue firsthand with my kindergartener last year that nonetheless created a bunch of confusion and worry on our first day of school -- but this news out of South Carolina makes me want to hug my kids' driver and thank her for 1) being so consistently good-natured and patient even though I'm sure her job is a freaking nightmare sometimes, and 2) never once ditching a pukey kid on the side of the road.

That's exactly what a driver did this week when one of her students complained of feeling sick. After an 11-year-old boy told her he was nauseous, the driver pulled over at the next unassigned stop, dropped him off ... and drove away. If a neighbor hadn't called the boy's mom, she wouldn't have even known where he was, or that he needed her help.

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Victoria Stone's 11-year-old son called his mother in distress on Tuesday minutes after he'd been picked up from his own stop in the morning:

He says, 'Mom, help me, please.' He says, 'My chest is beating really hard and I really need to throw up.' He said, 'I feel like I can't breathe.'

Stone told him to inform the driver, and that's when the driver apparently dropped Joe at the next stop, which was neighbor Betty Breeden's driveway. According to Breeden,

The bus went on and the child was left there in the grass.

Breeden called Stone, who drove over and discovered Joe hunched in the bushes near the driveway, close to the road.

If I wouldn't have slowed down, I would have run over my own child. He was on his knees, throwing up. The bus was gone. There was no one in sight.

Oh man, this would have infuriated me. I mean, I'm trying to view it from the bus driver's point of view -- she was likely on a tight schedule, and maybe she even asked Joe if he thought he could just walk back home from his neighbor's location. Maybe it wasn't that far, although the fact that the mom had to get in the car to pick him up means it likely wasn't just down the block.

But the fact remains that she dropped a child at an unassigned stop and then just took off. Hey, no one likes to deal with barf on a bus, but this kid could have been experiencing a medical emergency. It's especially outrageous if he actually told her he was having trouble breathing.

A school district spokeswoman said the driver was an 11-year veteran and had no previous incidents, but:

Our policy is very clear. A driver is not supposed to leave a child at an unassigned bus stop and certainly in a situation like this, which is unusual, not to leave a child unattended.

The driver "resigned in lieu of termination" Tuesday. Joe's parents don't sound quite satisfied with that outcome, though: they've filed a report with the school resource officer and it will be assigned to an investigator to follow up. Personally I don't think I'd be looking to press charges if this happened to my kid, but I'd probably be thinking that most people don't get to resign (and thus reap various possible benefits like continuation of health benefits, severance, and being able to say you quit in future job interviews) when they've royally screwed up -- they get fired.

Would you be upset if a bus driver left your kid in a similar situation?


Image via thoseguys119/Flickr

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