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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bus driver leaves child on Rt. 9


Cyrena S. Medbury, 9, and her mother, Melissa Doyle, are seen last night in their Shrewsbury home.

SHREWSBURY— A school bus driver was fired yesterday after he dropped off a fourth-grader on Route 9, far from her home, after she attempted to change seats without permission.

Melissa Doyle said her 9-year-old daughter was forced to get off the bus by the driver at Route 9 and South Street around 3:45 p.m. yesterday. Some students had already gotten off the bus at the Route 9 bus stop, when her daughter and several other students moved to take the empty seats.

The bus driver, Donald P. Davison Jr. of North Grafton, then ordered Ms. Doyle’s daughter, Cyrena S. Medbury, to get off at the bus stop as well. Mr. Davison declined comment when reached by telephone last night.

The girl lives at the Avalon Shrewsbury apartment complex on Route 20, so getting to her home would have required the student to walk by herself to Route 20, along either Route 9 or South Street. Both are busy roads. She could have also walked up a portion of Route 9, then cut through the Christmas Tree Shops plaza to Route 20.

“I was shaking, I was so upset,” Ms. Doyle said when she heard her daughter’s story. “I was in shock, and she was almost in tears. When I called my mother, I burst into tears. Who knows what could have happened?”

Apparently, the girl never left the bus stop on Route 9. One of the other students who witnessed what happened told her parent, and the parent drove back to the bus stop on Route 9, picked up the girl, and dropped her off at home. Ms. Doyle said she does not know the parent, but said her daughter got in the car because she recognized the other student from the bus.

School Superintendent Anthony J. Bent called the driver’s decision “gross negligence.”

“It is the worst possible judgment that any bus driver can make,” he said. “It’s almost beyond words, that he would drop her off there. That bus driver will never drive children in Shrewsbury again. It’s a terrible lapse in judgment,” he said.

Ms. Doyle said she had not been informed of any previous incidents involving her daughter on the bus. Mr. Bent was also unaware of any previous incidents that might have sparked the driver’s decision.

Mr. Bent said the school department’s transportation supervisor, as well as the bus driver, drove up and down Route 9 looking for the student after the incident, but did not find her. She had already been picked up by the other parent and delivered safely home.

Mr. Davison has been fired, confirmed Jim Pankonen, general manager of AA Transportation. The company operates the Floral Street School bus in question, which transports first- through fourth-graders.

“I think termination of the driver is a pretty immediate and final response,” Mr. Pankonen said. “We don’t tolerate that kind of behavior from our employees.”

Ms. Doyle said she is considering filing a police report for child endangerment. “I’m definitely not going to let this go,” she said.