• Parents say ‘kids were scared,' after elementary school bus goes missing for an hour

    By: Jeff Levkulich , James Tutten


    CASSELBERRY, Fla. - Officials in Seminole County are looking into what caused to a school bus to go missing for an hour last week and where it ended up going.

    Parents said they feared the worst when the bus was over an hour late dropping their kids off and they want to make sure the school district is doing something, so it doesn't happen again.

    The Seminole County Transportation Department investigated and watched a video from that bus to determine what happened.


    Officials said the driver was filling in on the route and took the bus full of students back to the school.

    Transportation services said there were several procedures not followed, which they plan to correct.

    Each day around 3:30 in the afternoon, bus 127 drops off Sterling Park Elementary students at this stop on 436 in Casselberry.

    But last Tuesday, that same bus was nowhere to be found for over an hour.

    "We were all quite concerned, couldn't get through to transportation," said grandmother Denise Randolph. "The kids were scared.  He was a good boy trying to comfort some of the other kids that were crying and everything."

    Bus 127 had a substitute driver who was not familiar with the route, and after making only one stop drove back to Sterling Park Elementary School.

    Stan McKinzie, assistant director for Seminole County Transportation Services, said several procedures were not followed in this case.

    "We have GPS on all of our buses. Unfortunately, when one of the parents called in, instead of giving them the location of the bus, they just transferred them to a manager," McKinzie said. "We use it as a teaching moment, if we make a mistake we will own up to our mistake and we will learn from that mistake."

    According to McKinzie, after the first stop the driver held the bus up to address a student who became defiant. She called the dispatch office, but the phone disconnected. Instead of calling back or using her radio, she drove the bus full of students back to the school.

    "If she is having issues and it is unsafe to move that bus she should have stayed at that location where she was until a transportation administrator came to help them out," McKinzie said.

    The incident is being reviewed and all drivers and dispatchers will be made aware and trained about the procedures to make sure this will not happen again.

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