Lost: the sequel

14 Oct

Two days ago, my vulnerable seven-year-old son who has autism was taken to the wrong school by the bus driver.  Through the miracle of technology, the principal of the wrong school (hereinafter referred to as School A) was able to determine that George was a student of the right school (hereinafter referred to as School B).  School A principal drove George to School B, where he was welcomed with open arms by his teacher.  School B administrator called Gerard to tell him what had happened.  Gerard called me.  Together, we spent a sleepless night thinking of how very badly this situation could have ended.  we had visions running through our minds of kidnapping, assault, and all other kinds of God-awful things.

The following day, we set out to find answers.  Clearly, we needed to know how and why a situation had arisen that could have had potential to severely compromise the safety of our child.

Gerard went to see the principal of School A. He pointed out that since George wears a special seatbelt lock to prevent unsupervised wanderings up and down the aisle, he could not have simply got up and got off the bus.  Who had taken George off the bus and why? The principal explained that although his school did have a new student, that student was not expected until later in the afternoon due to a medical appointment. When the bus had shown up, everyone had been surprised. A teacher had gone out to meet the bus, and the bus driver had told the teacher that George was transferring to School A.  The driver gestured at George and mentioned him by name.  The teacher had no reason to not believe the bus driver – she simply assumed that someone had not passed on some piece of information to someone else.  This is, after all, an administration.  These things happen.

Gerard’s next stop was the therapy centre.  He deliberately timed his arrival to coincide with that of the bus driver, with the intention of getting the bus driver’s side of the story. The bus driver claims that her supervisor had called her late on Friday to tell her that George was being transferred to School A effective from Tuesday (Monday being a stat holiday).  The bus driver, who knows George very well, was surprised enough to verbally confirm, in the same conversation, that George was the child being transferred. In accordance with these instructions, the bus driver drove George to School A on Tuesday, and only discovered the next day that this had been a mistake.

The supervisor is now claiming that she never named George as the child being transferred, that she had named some other child with a completely different-sounding name. The supervisor is removing the bus driver from George’s route, and is quite possibly going to attempt to fire her.

It sounds to me as if this is what happened: The supervisor gave the bus driver the wrong name.  Instead of saying Peter or Simon or whatever the other kid’s name was, she said George. The bus driver followed through on the instruction she was given, not knowing it was incorrect. Thereby unknowingly placing a child with autism in a very vulnerable situation. Now the supervisor is trying to cover up her mistake by blaming the bus driver, and the bus driver could end up without a job because of the supervisor’s mistake.

Is it just me, or is this story disturbing on many, many levels?


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