ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – An Abilene father is expressing concern after he says an Abilene ISD bus driver overrode a student identification system and lost track of his 5-year-old son.
Tuesday afternoon, Nate, who doesn’t wish to be identified so his last name has been excluded from this report, says he received a call from Day Nursery because they were concerned his son had not showed up.
“He gets taken from school to the orange street location of Day Nursery and then the Cedar Street location will come and we pick him up from there,” said Nate.
According to Nate, children getting on the Abilene Independence School District (AISD) buses must scan in and out with their IDs.
“At that time transportation was called, and the bus driver said ‘no he got dropped off at his original stop’,” said Nate.
But in Nate’s son’s case, he scanned in but never scanned out. After 45 minutes of panic and multiple phone calls, Nate was informed by AISD’s Transportation Department that his son was found on the bus asleep on the floor.
“It’s the manipulating of the safety system in place is the biggest thing that I’m upset about,” said Nate.
Nate explained he was told that bus drivers have the option to override the system manually, meaning the bus driver marked that his son had gotten off the bus.
“And then to not own up to it and say yea this driver needs to be retrained, well we’ve talked to him, and we coached him into not making this mistake again. The mistake shouldn’t have ever happened in the first place,” said Nate.
AISD’s Associate Superintendent of Operations, Scott Mclean says having the override function is an additional safety feature.
“If that capability wasn’t there for the drivers to do it, then when students show up without their bus tag, then we would be refusing ridership to a large number of students,” said Mclean.
Mclean says although the bus driver misused the system, it still was a helpful tool in locating Nate’s son.
“Should there be an incident, we know exactly who’s on that bus so we can be held accountable for those students,” said Mclean
In an effort to make sure something like this never happens again, Mclean says AISD will incorporate this incident into its bus driver safety training.
Mclean is hoping to implement additional safety measures for parents by offering a downloadable app in which parents can track their children while on the bus.
This app can be expected to be activated as early as next school year.