By John Lynds
An Eastie grandmother was fuming Sunday night and reached out to the media to tell the story of how her granddaughter was left on a Boston Public School bus for hours last Thursday as she and the girl’s mother frantically tried to locate the young girl.
However, Boston Public School administrators are telling a different story and said the bus driver was simply following protocol when he arrived at the girl’s bus stop and no one was there to pick her up. Apparently this was due to a miscommunication between the girl’s mother and administrators at the Eastie school her daughter attends.
Olga Curto told Fox25 Sunday night that her granddaughter, Talia Brown, who attends the Dante Alighieri Montessori School in Eastie, was supposed to be dropped off by her BPS bus at the East Boston YMCA site on Ashley Street following school. Talia boarded the bus but never arrived at the YMCA.
“My daughter went to the YMCA at 5:05 to pick her up and they told her she wasn’t there. She just almost fell to the floor,” Curto told Fox25. Talia’s aunt also reached out to the East Boston Times Sunday and shared a similar story.
While Curto was visibly upset on the news Sunday, BPS administrators said that they had already explained the situation to Talia’s mother and the situation was laid to rest following the incident on Thursday evening. BPS said the incident arose mainly from incomplete paper work regarding an alternative drop-off location for Talia.
In a statement to the East Boston Times, BPS said, “The safety of our students is the top priority for the Boston Public Schools (BPS). The school bus driver in Thursday’s incident followed proper protocol by not dropping off a young student who showed hesitation due to the fact that her parent was not present at the designated drop-off location. The bus driver circled back to the bus stop a few minutes later, and, when there still was no sign of the child’s parent, he contacted the BPS Safety Desk at 2:05 p.m. The Safety Desk immediately tried to contact the student’s mother.”
According to BPS, protocol dictates that if the Safety Desk cannot reach the family, then the driver retains custody of the child, ensuring his or her safety, while continuing the routes until a parent or guardian can be reached and a safe drop-off location arranged.
“Minutes after a BPS transportation official successfully reached the mother on the fourth attempt, the student was dropped off safely at her original designated drop-off location at 5:53 p.m.,” said BPS in the statement. “This issue arose from a miscommunication earlier that day between the student’s parent and an official at her daughter’s school regarding a request by the mother to change her child’s bus stop to a different drop-off location. A BPS Transportation official contacted the parent Thursday evening and resolved the issue by helping her successfully fill out the necessary Alternative Stop Request form and officially change the drop-off location. BPS has safety procedures in place for when a situation such as this occurs, and those procedures were correctly followed by the driver on Thursday.”