WATCH ABOVE: Just two days into the new school year, a six-year-old girl was dropped off by a school bus at a park by herself — rather than being walked over to after-school care. As Caryn Lieberman reports, the situation could have escalated into something much worse.
TORONTO — A Bradford, Ont. mother is outraged after her six-year-old daughter was mistakenly dropped off at a park about 20 minutes from their home, rather than sent to after-school care.
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Juliette, who prefers not to use her last name, told Global News she was mortified to learn that her daughter was put on a school bus rather than walked over to the YMCA daycare, which is attached to the W. H. Day Elementary School.
“I talked to her teacher in the morning and let her know that she would be going to the YMCA care and she went though her folder and said yeah, she did have a list,” Juliette said.
“She just basically had to walk down the hall.”
Melanie Slade-Morrison, a spokeswoman for the Simcoe County School Board, said the school board was “apologetic to the family,” adding that this was an “isolated incident.”
Slade-Morrison insisted the Board isn’t looking to assign blame, but is looking at where there may have been breakdowns in communication.
Juliette said that her daughter Sarena should have been picked up at the bus stop where she was dropped off Tuesday.
When Sarena got off the bus, no one was there to pick her up as her parents assumed she was in her after-school program.
The bus stop is next to a park, so Sarena played there for 45 minutes by herself.
“I’m mortified, I’m sick to my stomach,” said Juliette.
“She went into the park and played for about 45 minutes by herself.”
That’s when a passerby noticed her and asked if she could help. Juliette had written the name of the school on Sarena’s backpack so the woman called the school, which then alerted her parents as to where she was. Eventually Sarena’s aunt rushed to the park to pick her up.
Juliette, who works as a Doula and registered massage therapist and was in a Toronto hospital helping to deliver a baby, said she asked Sarena if she considered walking home from the park but the little girl said she wouldn’t leave the area because her mom taught her never to cross the street alone.