Wilson Cisneros said his daughter, a sixth-grader at Forest Glen Middle, was supposed to be dropped off around 4:30 p.m. just blocks from home. Instead, Cisneros frantically rushed to pick up his daughter when she called two hours later to say she had been dropped off near the Broward Health Center North in Pompano Beach, eight miles from her actual stop.
“It’s out of control,” said Cisneros, who found his 10-year-old daughter huddled with six other students and the hospital’s security guard. “Why would anyone just leave the kids at a stop they don’t know?”
Officials with the Broward school district are investigating the incident and reviewing video from the bus. In the meantime, the bus driver has been removed from the route.
The incident comes as the district touts dramatic improvements to its transportation department. Last year, disastrous service plagued the first few weeks of school when thousands of children were left stranded or not picked up at all.
During a Tuesday School Board meeting, school officials applauded the transportation department’s turnaround efforts, citing dramatic improvements over last year.
Superintendent Robert Runcie said the department moved to hire new drivers, improve routing and mailing bus cards to parents earlier.
But Cisneros joined complaints from a few other parents, who expressed frustration over late buses and no shows.
Jeannette Neerpat, of Tamarac, got tired of waiting for the bus Tuesday morning and decided to drive her three children to school – almost a 45-minute ride to Virginia Shuman Young Elementary in Fort Lauderdale.
“This has been the same stop I’ve been carrying my children to for the past five years,” she said. “We waited and watied and nothing.”
Last year, Neerpat had a similar problem: the bus never arrived at school to to bring her kids home.
“It happened for three weeks,” she said.
Runcie said with more than 1,000 routes transporting 85,000 students, issues were bound to arise.
“We need to put it in perspective,” he said. “Things are absolutely, significantly better than last year.”
He said transporation officials were working to address the Coral Springs incident.
Cisneros said his daughter is now afraid to take the bus. “We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said.
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