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TUSD says it didn't leave first-grader at wrong bus stop

Bus company responds to parents accusations
Posted: 6:33 PM, Feb 12, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-13 15:28:16-05
TUSD hiring school bus drivers

TUCSON, Ariz. — A Pima County mother says she's upset after she says her kids were dropped off at the wrong bus stop multiple times, leaving one of her daughters crying and asking strangers for help.

Alex Travis says her 7-year-old daughter Kennedy and 5-year-old daughter Tegan, who attend Vesey Elementary, have been dropped off by the school bus at the wrong bus stop on multiple occasions.

"The pick up times and locations have been absolutely erratic and inconsistent," she said. "We had the first incident on Jan. 10. The driver let my 5-year-old and my 7-year-old off at the same bus stop in another neighborhood. it was over 30 minutes early."

The situation became even more complicated on Jan. 23. That's when Travis claims that Kennedy was missing for an hour because she was dropped off at the wrong stop once again, and allegedly assaulted by the bus driver that same day.

"A sheriff was called," Travis said. "A bystander found her crying, going door-to-door asking for help because she didn't know where she was."

After nearly two weeks of back-and-forth, KGUN 9 received a full response from the Tucson Unified School District regarding the allegations.

TUSD's director of transportation, Martha Zamora, released the following statement on the incident:

“We took the accusations very seriously, and looked carefully at all of the evidence before concluding that the allegations were not supported. We stand by our drivers who are professional and train to deliver the best service to all Tucson Unified students that utilize transportation to go to our schools”

As for Citizen, the bus company, KGUN 9 met with the owner but couldn't get access to the video due to confidentiality issues. The owner did release a statement on the incidents:

"Citizen Auto Stage Company (Citizen) is contracted with Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) to provide transportation services designated by TUSD. It has come to Citizen’s attention that a parent of one of the children who is on a bus route assigned to Citizen has made allegation of injury or harm to the child on the afternoon of January 23, 2020. Citizen is committed to providing safe and quality transportation services to TUSD in a manner consistent with TUSD policies and procedures. Citizen is fully cooperating with TUSD and, if necessary, any law enforcement entity to investigate the allegations. The child at issue is not designated as a child who “must be met” by a parent or authorized person at the time and place that the child disembarks from the bus. Such a designation is made pursuant to TUSD policies and procedures. Citizen’s investigation indicates that the child disembarked from the bus at one of two stops that have been authorized by the child’s parent. The Citizen bus is equipped with cameras which depict the interior of the bus and the exit of children at the subject stop. Footage from the cameras has been obtained from the camera system and has been provided to TUSD officials. The camera footage is inconsistent with allegations made by the child’s parent."

Travis is planning to drive her kids to school until she's comfortable putting them back on the bus. She says she's seen a clip of bus video from the Jan. 23 incident and is putting in requests to TUSD to see more documentation of the investigation.

To learn more about busing at TUSD, include information ony our own child's pickup and drop-off stops, click here.