A 7-year-old boy from Arkansas is probably now famous around town after his school bus driver dropped him off at the wrong stop. But now that his father is demanding answers, all that the school district has managed to do was to issue a statement saying they are looking into the matter.
According to a local news outlet, DeMarcus Watkins Sr. learned his son was dropped off more than a mile away from where the school bus should have dropped him off, leaving the child on the side of the road as the area had no sidewalks.
The incident could have turned out dramatic if not for a Good Samaritan who saw the lonely boy and took him to the correct stop.
“A stranger picked him up, and luckily a good-hearted person took him back to his grandmother’s house,” he told reporters.
Unfortunately for Watkins, the Marion School District has yet to issue an apology for what its school bus driver did, even after the 7-year-old insisted he wasn’t being dropped off at the right location.
“My biggest problem was when he got to this point and he was telling the driver and the driver’s aid that this is not his right stop, no one really paid attention,” the angry father explained.
But since this is a public school district and the two people responsible for this incident are public employees, it’s safe to say Watkins won’t be getting much of an apology in the future. As a matter of fact, the district’s superintendent said they are still reviewing the bus footage to determine whether the driver and driver’s aid followed proper procedures.
Considering that school buses send an average of 17,000 children to the hospital yearly, they are far from a safe transportation option for children. Unfortunately, over 23 million school-aged children ride these buses every year in the United States.
And while this particular incident in Arkansas may seem like an oddity, it’s far from an isolated occurrence.
As highlighted by NJ.com, a child is forgotten inside of a school bus every two weeks during the school year. And while state laws require that school bus drivers check their buses before exiting, “students keep being left behind,” the report explained. Needless to say, bus drivers aren’t being reprimanded.
But being forgotten inside of a bus isn’t the end of the world, right? How about dropping off a 5-year-old girl two miles away from her destination?
In New York state, a mom is suing the contractor that runs the district’s school buses after her 5-year-old was dropped off at the wrong stop and after her public charter school failed to contact her when the child didn’t arrive.
After finding her crying daughter alone more than 10 blocks away from her home at a busy intersection, the mom filed a $7 million lawsuit. And why didn’t she sue the school district instead? Probably because government agencies can’t be held liable.
With records showing that between late 2015 and July 2017 at least 281 drivers and escorts put children in danger in New York City alone but only 32 were fired, it’s clear that even when incidents are thoroughly investigated, the school district does little to protect children.
With this in mind, it’s not far-fetched to believe that what happened to Watkins’ child will continue to happen across the country. After all, bureaucrats have absolutely no incentives to keep their customers, in this case, the students and their parents, happy.