Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod
Bus dumps schoolgirl
A shocked mother told the Kildare Nationalist her eight-year-old daughter was left “trembling” at the side of the road alone after being refused entry onto her school bus.
Áine Clarke’s eight-year-old daughter attends St. Conleth’s and Mary’s in Newbridge and travels to and from school on a local school bus run by Glen Whelan. On Tuesday, October 5, her daughter was dropped to the bus stop, by car, by her grandfather.
“He drove off when the bus arrived. There were two other kids getting the bus at the same bus stop. He was never thinking ‘God, this bus isn’t going to let her on,’” said Clarke.
“The bus driver asked my daughter if she had her envelope and when she told him no, he told her she could not get on the bus. My daughter started to cry and told him that both her parents were in work and her granddad was already gone. The response she got was that it was not his problem and he drove off and left her there,” alleged the shocked parent.
“My daughter is only eight and does not carry a mobile phone. A lady picked her up at the side of the road crying and made contact with the school which contacted me. Anything could have happened to my daughter that morning, and they knowingly left her alone with no way of contacting a responsible adult.” The family live in Rosebury Hill, and the school is located 20 minutes away.
“The woman who found my daughter alone Googled the number for the school. I am so glad it was such a nice woman. My daughter didn’t know this woman and she felt she had no choice. She really didn’t have any other choice but to go. She was so vulnerable,” said Clarke of her daughter.
Sheila O’Neill, principal of the school, confirmed she had been contacted by the woman who had found the young girl at the side of the road.
“It is very unusual,” she said. “But from our point of view the contract is between the parent and bus driver.”
Clarke said she had contacted the company but the person she spoke to “wasn’t a bit apologetic.” While payment for the bus service is due every Monday, Clarke did say that sometimes her payment was not made until Tuesday or Wednesday.
“My daughter has been on this bus since September 2009 and has never once missed a payment,” said Clarke.
Clarke said that when she registered with the company, she gave them her contact details but the driver or the company did not contact her about her daughter not being allowed onto the bus. She said her daughter had explained to the driver that she had nowhere to go.
Glen Whelan said he could not comment on the allegations. “It’s a private situation and any comment made by us will be made through our legal representative, who will be monitoring the situation,” he added.
- Kildare Nationalist
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