MPS offers bus safety tips after 5-year-old gets off at wrong st - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

MPS offers bus safety tips after 5-year-old gets off at wrong stop

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

If your child rides the bus to and from school, how can you be sure he's getting off at the right stop?

Montgomery Public School officials say it happens at the start of every year -- students get confused, get off the bus in the wrong place, and parents panic.

One MPD parent took a pro-active approach to make sure her grandson got home safely the first day of school, and she sure is glad she did.

Dianne Burch's 5-year-old grandson is in kindergarten. Since this is the first time he's ever ridden a school bus, she decided to follow his bus home from school the first day.

"I think about what could have happened, what if I didn't follow the bus," Burch said. "The bus driver went her route, but she put my grandson off at Airbase trailer park, and we live at Z&H trailer park which is on Bell Street."

The two stops are almost two miles apart.

"I said why did you get off, he said she said this was my stop," Burch said.

Montgomery Public School buses transport about 16,000 students to and from school every day. School officials say with about 60 or so students on each bus, it's impossible for bus drivers to know where each student should get off on the first day of school.  They say this situation emphasizes the importance of making sure your children know what their bus stop looks like.

"Parents should understand that we are partners with the school system. we work together to ensure students' safety," said MPS spokesperson Tom Salter.

Salter recommends pointing out landmarks and showing your bus riders their stop from all angles.

"We've been walking up here and letting him get a visual from the ground as opposed to my truck," Burch said.

"If the parent has any concern that the child may not know where to get off, he's welcome to send a note with the child to school," Salter said.

Burch is taking steps to make sure her grandson gets home when she's not following the bus.

"I actually made out a little card, put his name, address, phone number, bus number, just the extra effort to make sure he gets where he needs to be, and make sure he's safe," Burch said.

Burch did notify MPS about the incident, and school officials have been working with her and the bus driver to clear up the confusion.  

It is illegal to follow a bus from stop to stop, but MPS officials are allowing Burch to follow her grandson's bus until she feels confident he's safe.

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