3-year-old with autism dropped at wrong school by bus

September 13, 2013 10:01:50 PM PDT
Imagine putting your child on a school bus only to learn she was dropped off at the wrong school. It happened to a 3-year-old Hayward girl with autism who was attending her first day of preschool.

Alicia Gonzalez put her daughter Kaitlyn on a school bus on Wednesday morning. It was her first day at a special education preschool. But the driver arrived at the wrong school. Then, Kaitlyn was then put on another bus. That time the driver got it right. But then the second driver forgot to pick her up from school when class ended at noon.

The school quickly notified Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said Kaitlyn does not want to go back to school.

"She was terrified to get on the bus and she didn't want to and I have been transporting her while we arrange some other transportation," she said.

Kaitlyn is a triplet. The other two children, also with autism, rely on the same company, Durham School Services, for transportation. Since this happened Gonzalez has received dozens of responses from other parents who have had similar complaints about Durham.

Thursday, Durham gave ABC7 News a brief statement saying the company takes these allegations very seriously.

"And to know that ABC had gotten some generic response back from the PR company saying, 'Oh well, the district didn't let us know about this and that the mom didn't let us know about this and we'll look into this because safety is our first concern,' I'm not buying it," Gonzalez said.

Friday, the company's general manager made a statement with no mention of Wednesday's incident.

" Durham School Services' top priority is the safety of the students that we transport," Paul Bracco said.

Again, ABC7 News asked him why or how Kaitlyn fell through the cracks.

"I can't go into that right now," Bracco said.

Hayward Unified School District and seven other schools districts have a contract with Durham. It ends in June 2015. The superintendent said he would discuss the matter with the other districts with the possibility of not renewing the contract.

"These are the concerns we have and we need to do something about it and address the services," Stan Dobbs said. "Keep in mind, that at this particular time, Durham is the largest bus career in the area and there are very few options as to what the next step would be."

Right now the district says it really doesn't have another option to transport special education students. Durham is the second largest school bus company in the nation.


Load Comments