Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
A bus contractor for the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine has been suspended after a five-year-old student at École la Source wasn’t dropped off at school on Wednesday morning.
After the school day had already started, Yovana Kullen received a phone call from the principal of the school at CFB Shilo asking why her daughter wasn’t at school. At the same time, her husband Ben received a phone call from his niece saying his daughter had just been dropped off at home.
The girl had fallen asleep while on the bus and the driver only noticed after getting home. Instead of notifying the school about the incident, the driver put the kindergartener in his personal vehicle and took her home, where the Kullens’ niece was getting ready to go to work.
Both the school and the parents were in contact with the RCMP and the Brandon Police Service about the incident, but after interviewing the girl and the driver it was determined that no criminal charges would need to be laid. She was also examined by a doctor, who confirmed that she was in good health after the incident.
However, DSFM Supt. Alain Laberge told the Sun via phone Wednesday afternoon that his division has told busing contractor First Student that they no longer want this particular driver working on their routes. He also said the principal of École la Source apologized to the family, which the family confirmed to the Sun.
"I’m putting myself in their shoes," Laberge said. "My daughter is nine ... If I would be told that she was in a personal vehicle, I would have a lot of questions, too."
First Student spokesperson Jay Brock said via email that the matter is under investigation.
"At First Student, there is nothing more important than the safety of the students we transport," Brock wrote. "We understand and share in the concern this incident has caused. We are incredibly disappointed by our driver’s actions. First Student takes incidents like this very seriously. Behaviour such as this is completely unacceptable and at odds with what we stand for as a company. The driver was immediately removed from service pending the outcome of our investigation."
See ‘Family’ — Page A2
If protocols had been followed correctly, according to Laberge, the driver should have called the school to let them know about what happened and then taken the child to her school in the school bus and not a personal vehicle. He also said that drivers are supposed to do a walk-through of their bus after dropping students off to see if anything was left behind and because of COVID-19 measures, should have then sanitized the whole bus.
Ultimately, the Kullens do not think the bus driver had any ill intentions and don’t necessarily think he should lose his job, but they’re upset that the proper procedures were not followed.
"Maybe he was trying his best to bring my daughter home," Ben said. "But he didn’t follow protocol."
After speaking with the police and the school, Yovana said that she doesn’t think the same situation will happen to anyone else.
» Twitter: @ColinSlark
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