KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City mother wants answers after her 5-year-old daughter was dropped off alone in the cold by mistake. Gerrika Green says a bus driver dropped of her daughter, Giavonni, leaving her to wander a busy street alone.
Green says her daughter never should have been on that bus in the first place, saying a substitute teacher didn`t realize that Giavonni was supposed to stay for an after-school program, like she usually does.
Instead, she was dropped off at her home while no one was there. According to the Hickman Mills School District, per policy, its contractor Apple Bus is not supposed to leave children at stops without seeing the student be received by an adult.
"Danger, fear! I cried. I couldn`t even respond initially. I just started crying at work," said Green, when asked what she was feeling when she found out her daughter was left alone in the cold.
"I don`t know what fear, or what she was feeling when she when she found that no one was there for her," said Green. "There was no one outside. The door was closed there was no car in the driveway, but they felt somehow confident enough to leave a 5-year old in front of her house and drive off without any care or concern as to whether anyone was at home for her."
With no one to let her in, Giavonni walked down a busy road with no sidewalks, and traffic at her back, about a quarter of a mile to where her brother attends school. There she told teachers she was locked out.
Pam Caskey with Apple Bus released the following written statement: “Apple Bus Company has been notified that a student, who normally attends an after school program, was dropped off at a home address without parent/adult supervision and the incident is under investigation.”.
Caskey told FOX 4 by phone the driver is on a suspension while the matter is investigated. However, it`s of little comfort to a mom, who’s wondering how any of this happened in the first place.
"How can you trust them after this, to be responsible?" said Gerrika Green.
She filed a police report against the bus driver, saying he should be held criminally responsible for putting her young daughter in danger.
The incident spurred the school district to institute changes. A district spokesperson sent FOX 4 a statement that reads in part:
Regardless of how the child got on the bus, the procedure for bus drivers is to make sure the child is welcomed by an adult upon receivership. This protocol ensures that if an adult does not receive the child, then the child is returned to school and a parent is called.
Typically the parent alerts the teacher via a text whether the student is to ride the bus or go to LINC. The teacher (not substitute a teacher) did not receive a text from the parent and thus was operating under the premise to follow the normal request from the parent and put the student on the bus. It appears that this is a parent that travels quite a bit and the teacher has been working to accommodate her transportation needs for the student, which is what we should do for our parents.
Our new process for parents and guardians is as follows:
- Call the office
- Send a note to the teacher
- Call LINC
This parent has been informed, along with other parents, that this is now the new process if transportation needs occur. The District apologizes for any part we played in this process and are very grateful that the student is safe and without harm.