May 23, 2018
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Gray mom mad 5-year-old left alone at bus stop

The Associated Press

GRAY, Maine — The mother of a 5-year-old Maine kindergartner is upset her daughter was dropped off at a Gray school bus stop without any adults being present.

The Portland Press Herald says the girl began walking to a relative’s home along a busy highway Monday, but was given a ride by someone who knew her.

The girl wound up walking alone on a busy street on the way to her aunt’s house 1.5 miles away. She arrived safely.

The girl’s mother, Liana Thoits, said she is not satisfied with the district’s response. She wants the bus driver fired for violating the district’s policy of never leaving kindergartners unless a parent or guardian is present.

Victoria Burns, superintendent of School Administrative District 15, which serves Gray and New Gloucester, said the incident boiled down to human error. She would not identify the driver or say whether any disciplinary action had been taken.

“There was a meeting and there will be another meeting held, and they are having a district bus drivers meeting so that everyone understands that this is our first priority,” Burns said.

Thoits, a single parent, spends most of the day attending Southern Maine Community College in South Portland and working with special-needs children in Scarborough.

Monday was the first early release day of the school year in SAD 15, and Thoits said she made arrangements with the Russell School to have her daughter dropped off at the home of Thoits’ brother on Lawrence Road.

Instead, the bus driver left her daughter at Frost Road, even though no parent or guardian was there to accompany her. The driver then called the district’s bus garage to report that she had dropped off the child without a parent in sight. The district contacted Thoits, who was waiting for her daughter at her brother’s home.

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