Chesapeake parents feeling effects of bus driver shortage; driver mistakenly takes children to wrong school

Chesapeake

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — School districts in Hampton Roads are in desperate need of more bus drivers.

As the first week of school comes to a close, 10 On Your Side received several calls from parents concerned about pick-up and drop-off delays, including one group of parents who say their kindergartners were not only late getting home but also wound up at the wrong school.

What started as a first day of school bus delay, quickly turned into a moment of fear.

“The bus was supposed to arrive at 2:17 p.m. We’re all standing here, a group of parents, nothing’s happening,” said Melanie Morabito, whose 5-year-old attends kindergarten at Butts Road Primary in Chesapeake.

Morabito recalls parents scrambling to get answers as to where their children were. One father, Ian Sibberson, went straight to Butts Road Primary for answers as staff worked to locate the school bus.

“They kept saying ‘She’s not lost, she’s just misplaced,'” Sibberson said.

Morabito was one of those parents waiting at her daughter’s bus stop Tuesday.

“As we’re sitting here, it dawned on me that I put an Apple Air Tag in my daughter’s backpack. So I was able to pull it up on my phone and the Apple Air Tag alerted me that 18 minutes ago, she was at the wrong bus stop and then it showed me that she was at the intermediate school,” Morabito explained.

She told 10 On Your Side Butts Road Primary School administrators confirmed the bus’s location and informed parents it would be on its way to the correct stop.

“I chase the bus down, I bang on the door as hard as I could and told her I’m getting my daughter off this bus right now. She didn’t check any tags or nothing, she just gave me my daughter and on our way we went,” Sibberson said.

Eventually, the bus showed up to the correct neighborhood but Morabito’s daughter wasn’t on it.

“So of course I’m bawling, I’m crying, I’m losing it,” Morabito stated.

The child was still at the intermediate school, upset and confused.

“I was upset. My husband was upset and again, I feel like we were failed as parents,” Morabito said.

Morabito’s since spoken with her daughter’s principal but says she never got a call back from transportation and wants to know what exactly went wrong Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Chesapeake Public Schools issued the following statement:

One of our drivers mistakenly dropped off some students at the YMCA afterschool program at a neighboring school. The principal at the neighboring school was able to intervene and contact parents to pick up those students. All students were supervised at all times and safely returned to their parents.

Morabito and Sibberson tell us they’ve filed police reports to ensure a mistake never happens again.

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