Parents upset after bus drops off 1st-graders on busy highway

Parents upset after bus drops off 1st-graders on busy highway

VANCOUVER, Wash. - A group of Vancouver parents were left worried for close to an hour when they say they weren’t notified their young children would be dropped off the bus along a busy highway.  The snow route stop is a mile from the children's homes.

"Scary, anything could have happened, somebody could have hit them. Part of that area doesn’t have sidewalks," said one upset parent, Karin Corado. "They could have gotten lost and froze to death. None of our kids were dressed for a hiking expedition."

Corado’s children, Emma and Porter, are in the first grade. 

According to Porter, the bus driver told the kids to get off the bus along Highway 99 in Vancouver if they live in the neighborhood or to ride back to Sarah J Anderson Elementary School if they didn’t know how to get home.  A fifth-grader showed the twins which way to go, but the next snow route stop would have been closer for them to walk.

"I don’t think the driver was thinking," Corado said. "I think maybe they should evaluate that driver, and go back to the scenario. What were they thinking?"

A district spokesperson said the transportation department is moving the snow route bus stop away from Highway 99 and into a nearby church parking lot. However, she also said it’s up to the parents to know about the snow routes and pick up their children if they have concerns. She said the snow route notification system worked and alerts were on the website, social media and sent through text messages parents can sign up to receive.

At least two parents said they weren’t notified and didn’t know to check because there wasn’t snow on the ground at the time.

"It shouldn’t be left for us to guess," Corado said.  "Today everybody got an email that school was canceled.  It’s not that hard."