Bus drops special needs girl off 4 hours late

September 8, 2010 6:45:04 AM PDT
Iliya Paris is back with her family, safe and sound. But for hours on Tuesday, her parents had no idea where she was, even though she was supposed to have been driven home from school on the bus.

It was a crisis for Iliyah's family, and perhaps the first crisis of the year for the Philadelphia School District.

"I'm petrified to put her on the bus again," said her mother, April.

She told Action News on Tuesday night that Iliyah, who has Down syndrome, was dropped off from her first day of Thurgood Marshall four hours late, with no notification from anyone about her whereabouts.

April was at her job in Bucks County when she received a call around 4:00 p.m. from Iliyah's grandmother that the third-grader was still not home.

April rushed back, and along with family tried tracking down her daughter. They went to the school, called the bus dispatcher and finally called police all with no luck.

"We called, no one could locate the bus driver," said April.

Police later told the family the dispatcher said the driver first went to their old address from three years ago, and then became confused with their Westford Road address, thinking the road was spelled with two words.

But the family explains Iliyah has been dropped off at that address for two years, plus summer school. And while mistakes happen they said the bus driver should have immediately contacted the family - especially taking into account that Illiyah has Down syndrome and is unable to communicate extensively on her own.

Action News did speak to a district spokesman who said they will be investigating Iliyah's case.

The spokesman went on to say that several buses with new drivers finished their routes late Tuesday evening, even one ending at 8:00 p.m., and did not follow protocol by calling the operations center or parents.

The driver who ended the route at 8:00 p.m. has already been suspended, the school district said.

However, the district was not able to verify if Iliyah was on one of those late buses.


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