Lewiston schools firm policy after 8-year-old abandoned at bus stop

LEWISTON — An 8-year-old left at a bus stop Tuesday spurred the Lewiston School Department to put into writing a policy that prohibits drivers from leaving students alone at bus stops, Superintendent Bill Webster said.

Rachel Middleton said she took her third-grade daughter to the bus stop, then went to work. The girl had been suspended from riding the bus, but the suspension was supposed to end Tuesday, her mother said.

She dropped the child off at the bus stop at Bridge and Summer streets behind Central Maine Medical Center. Around 8:15 a.m., the bus driver called Hudson Bus and asked whether the girl could ride. Because of a clerical error, the driver was told the student was not allowed on the bus, Middleton said.

“They left her there,” she said.

Luckily, some neighbors were home and watched the girl.

Meanwhile, staff at Geiger Elementary School inquired why the girl wasn't at school, and quickly figured out what had happened. School staff talked to Hudson Bus. By 8:30 a.m., a Hudson Bus van was sent to pick up the student and take her to school.

Middleton didn't find out what happened until around 10:30 a.m. when she got a phone call from a neighbor.

“I am very upset,” she said. "You don't leave a child on the side of the road, suspended or not. That's dangerous. All the other kids got on the bus. I'm gone to work. My doors are locked. She's 8 years old! She does not have a cellphone.”

She talked to staff at the bus company and was told they are changing their policy and will not again leave a child, Middleton said.

Webster said he was assured by Hudson Bus that this would not happen again. "I fully understand the concern of this parent, of any parent," Webster said. "We take nothing more seriously than the safety of our children.”

Over the years, Hudson Bus, a private company the Lewiston School Department contracts with, has done a good job, Webster said.

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Comments

Julia Gleason's picture

Shared Blame

I think there is a shared blame, to the bus driver AND to the mom, I personally would never leave my young ones alone at a bus stop, even if other kids were present. And with the two attempted child abductions in Brunswick which is a quick 30 miles away, I especially would be keeping a closer eye. These parents need to slow down and remember what's important, the safety of the children. Maybe the person responsible for the clerical error at the school should be re trained as well.

Charlotte Morin's picture

Clerical error was bus company's

The clerical error was that of the bus company, not the school.

Andrew Jones's picture

What bugs me is that the

What bugs me is that the mother had to find out from the neighbor two hours after the fact; why didn't the school or Hudson say anything? Were they hoping that nobody would notice?

Charlotte Morin's picture

If mom had been there...

She certainly would have known now, wouldn't she? Sorry, this bugs me...it is ultimately the parents' responsibility to care for their child, not the other kids at the bus stop or a neighbor who luckily happened to see that the child was stranded, or anyone else. Don't leave your children unattended and you will never need to worry about this happening.

Charlotte Morin's picture

Young children should NOT be unsupervised at a bus stop...

Awful for the bus driver to leave the poor 8-year-old alone at the bus stop. Should NOT have happened.

Much more awful (in my opinion as a mother of four,) to leave your 8-year-old at a bus stop and go on to work before making sure the bus has picked your child up!

When my kids were that age, I would never in a million years have left them unsupervised at a bus stop and ASSUME that the bus came and took them to school. There are so many reasons that I don't even need to list them here.

I am still not 100% comfortable that my daughters have had to walk around the corner to a bus stop that I can't see when in middle and high school, (even though I am at home and would know if the bus doesn't show up.)They may be older, but they are still vulnerable.

Just glad that this little girl was okay and that there is now a policy in place so that it never happens again.

Just wondering out loud. Why

Just wondering out loud. Why was a 8 year old suspended from riding the bus?

Gary Grenier's picture

For not following the rules.

My ex-wife's boys were suspended that young. They couldn't sit still. They harassed other kids. They were loud. You name it.

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