Dad wants answers after daughter left at wrong school bus stop

Dad wants answers after daughter left at wrong school bus stop

A family in south Ottawa is looking for answers after their three-year-old daughter was apparently dropped off at the wrong school bus stop Monday.

Karim Ismail was waiting at the bus stop after 3 p.m., but his daughter Noor didn't get off the bus.

"I started to think 'Where is my daughter? Is she walking on the street?' She's three years old. She doesn't know where her home is," Ismail said.

He went to look for her at Bayview Public School, but she couldn't be found in the yard or at the after school programs.

Found at another stop

Hinda Guelleh told CBC her son and daughter brought the little girl to her on their way home from school because she seemed lost at the bus stop.

Guelleh said they went door-to-door in their neighbourhood — more than a kilometre away from the bus stop where Ismail had been waiting — to find Noor's family. 

Eventually a parent in the neighbourhood called the school and Noor was reunited with her family.

Ismail said he's worried what would happen in the winter or to small children being left along the side of the road. 

"I'm frustrated that this happened, I'm disappointed. I'm frightened about my daughter. It's supposed to be a mundane trip from school to home," Ismail said.

He said he won't be trusting the school bus system in the near future, opting to drive Noor to school himself.  

Another parent, Pam Oderkirk, told CBC her six-year-old son was put on the wrong bus on the first day of school, leaving her scrambling at the end of the day when he didn't arrive home. They eventually found him safe and sound.

'Unacceptable'

Vicky Kyriaco, general manager for the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA), said the agency investigates situations where a student is let off at the wrong stop.

"There's no doubt that circumstance is unacceptable," Kyriaco said, though she said she could not confirm or discuss the details of the specific case for privacy reasons.

She said OSTA, which oversees school buses for both of Ottawa's English school boards, has policies to protect young students.

They are only to be let out of the bus when they have someone waiting at the stop, and kindergarten students have yellow tags on their backpacks to help identify them.

Kyriaco said based on a review of the situation, a driver may be retrained or reassigned to a route where they're no longer responsible for younger children.