ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – An Abilene dad expresses concern after he says an Abilene ISD bus driver bypassed a student identification system and lost track of his 5-year-old son.
On Tuesday afternoon, Nate, who does not wish to be identified so his last name has been excluded from this report, said he received a call from Day Nursery because they were concerned his son had not shown up.
“He’s being taken from school to the Orange Street location of the daycare center and then the Cedar Street location will come and we’ll pick him up from there,” Nate said.
According to Nate, children boarding Abilene Independence School District (AISD) buses must scan the entrance and exit with their ID card.
“At that point the transport was called and the bus driver said ‘no it was dropped off at its original stop’,” Nate said.
But in the case of Nate’s son, he scanned but never scanned. After 45 minutes of panic and several phone calls, Nate was informed by the AISD transport department that his son had been found on the bus asleep on the ground.
“It’s the manipulation of the security system in place that’s the biggest thing that bothers me,” Nate said.
Nate explained that he was told that bus drivers had the option to override the system manually, meaning the bus driver indicated that his son got off the bus.
“And then not admitting it and saying yes, that driver needs to be retrained, well, we talked to him and we trained him not to make that mistake again. The mistake should never have happened in first place,” Nate said.
AISD Associate Superintendent of Operations Scott Mclean says the override feature is an added safety feature.
“If that capability wasn’t there for drivers to do, then when students showed up without their bus tag, we would deny use to a large number of students,” Mclean said.
Mclean says that although the bus driver abused the system, it was still a useful tool in locating Nate’s son.
“If there is an incident, we know exactly who is on that bus so we can be held accountable for those students,” Mclean said.
In an effort to ensure something like this never happens again, Mclean says AISD will incorporate this incident into its bus driver safety training.
Mclean hopes to implement additional safety measures for parents by offering a downloadable app in which parents can track their children on the bus.
This application should be activated from the next school year.