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December 6, 2002

Bus driver hearing

From: WPMI, AL - 6 Dec 2002

(MOBILE, Ala.) December 6 - A hearing took place Friday for a school bus driver who reportedly left a four-year-old deaf student on her bus for nearly three hours. A decision about punishment will be made next week. What do local parents think should be done?

School officials say it is routine for all school bus drivers to take an orange tag from the front to the back of the bus while carefully checking each seat as they walk down the aisle. It is unclear as to whether school bus driver Wanda Friday followed that procedure. But, parents NBC 15 interviewed say she should have.

Many we spoke with say she should pay the price for leaving the student on the bus, even if it was accidental. "Still that was a child left on the bus unattended, cold weather. So, no. I feel that they should be let go probably," says one parent. "I think they should be let go. They should be held responsible for leaving that child on the bus,"says another.

Others say you have to look at the situation in its entirety. They say if Friday has a spotless driving record in her eight year career, then school board members should take that into consideration. "In light of that fact that the child was not injured and she has a pretty good training record, uh record of performance, I would think that some remedial training would be sufficient instead of having someone lose their job around Christmas time." says a parent.

Mobile County Public SchoolsSuperintendat Doctor Harold Dodge did have a brief meeting with Wanda on Friday. The decision about her continued employment now lies in the hands of the school board. Dr. Dodge will make a recommendation to the board. They will decide what disciplinary action to take, if any, at the next school board meeting.

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