Morris school children left in the park by bus driver - New York News

Morris school children left in the park by bus driver

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MORRIS, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Not everyone is back to taking the bus since more than 20 students, some of them kindergartners, were dropped off at a park instead of being taken home on the first day of school earlier this week in Morris.

But most of them are riding again, Morris Elementary School District 54 Supt. Teri Shaw told the SouthtownStar on Thursday.

The students from White Oak Elementary were left in the park after school in what Shaw called "a lapse of judgment" by the bus driver. They ranged from grades K-5.

Some parents, especially of the kindergartners, have kept their children off the bus to make sure "the kinks are worked out" in a new system implemented at Morris schools this year, Shaw said.

The children dropped off at Goodwill Park all lived in the surrounding neighborhood and got home safely, Shaw said. Parents who saw what happened helped some children. Others walked home.

"It's very much a community park surrounded by homes," Shaw said.

Shaw said she and White Oak Principal Christopher Maier called parents after the mishap.

"We contacted every parent that had a child on Bus 12 to personally apologize and to tell them that their children's safety is our top priority," Shaw said.

Maier rode on the bus on Wednesday to help reassure the schoolchildren, Shaw said.

Reports Wednesday quoted Shaw saying the bus driver "has been let go." But Shaw on Thursday referred questions about the driver's status to the Saratoga School District, which could not be immediately reached for comment.

The new transportation system combines what were two systems last year. The Morris elementary and high school districts had one, and Saratoga Elementary School District in Morris ran a separate one. This year all school buses are run out of a system run by Saratoga.

There have been reports of other problems, including children getting on the wrong buses. But Shaw said routes have been running a little smoother each day.

"We're all hands on deck working on those issues," she said.

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