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Parent questions district policy after daughter is put on wrong bus

By Maria Miller

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- Bus stop mix-up: A local parent says her child was left in the cold and is now questioning the school district's policy and procedure.

"I was like, 'bus driver, bus driver, there's nobody here," said 6 year old Tarynn. "He saw me but he still just drove away."

It's a parents worst nightmare; Waiting to get your child off the bus only to discover she's not there. That's what happened to a kindergartner in Johnstown earlier this week. She was dropped off at a stop two miles from her home and left to stand in the cold.

Both the school district and bus company told 6 News s it was an unfortunate and regrettable mistake, one that's making them take extra steps to ensure it doesn't happen again.

"I went to get her off the bus and the driver told me she wasn't there," said Heather Morris, Tarynn's mother.  

"I was like, 'come on mom, come on mom, I want to see you," said Tarynn. "I thought she would never find me."
Morris said Tarynn was put on the wrong bus and dropped off nearly two miles away from home, left standing alone in the bitter cold.

"I was actually so sad that I threw my backpack down and sat on it," said Tarynn. "I started to think that that if my mom wasn't there, I was going to have to walk home."

Luckily her mother knew where to find her because it wasn't uncommon for Tarynn to be dropped off at that location. It's the home of a friend who watches her from time to time, but that wasn't the plan on Tuesday.  

"Tarynn told her teacher that she was supposed to ride bus 101 instead of bus 112 and I did not receive a phone call or email to verify that that was the bus she was supposed to ride," said Morris. "And I didn't send in a note to tell them she was supposed to ride that bus."

The school district admits it should have never happened and sent us this statement:

"This was an unusual situation.  Some of our children change buses on a regular basis, and sometimes the days vary during the week.  Our principal followed up with the parent, teacher, and the bus company to ensure that this will never happen again. We do try to accommodate needs for after-school care.  Any children who are not riding their regular bus on any given day must have a note from their parents.  Students changing busses must submit notes for each occurrence.  Multiple conversations have occurred regarding this incident to ensure that a similar issue will never recur.  We extend our regrets to the family for this unfortunate situation.  We thank all parents in our district for continuing open communication with us to ensure the safety of all children. "

"I understand people make mistakes. We're all human, but this is a pretty big mistake," said Morris. "I mean my child was left outside for 10 minutes without an adult and I want other parents to know just to be careful, just to make sure."

McIlwain Bus Company also told 6 News it was an unfortunate, regrettable and certainly a mistake. Both the district and the bus company said they're looking into plans to make sure it never happens again.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times