A group of Forest Glen Middle School students from Coral Springs missed their scheduled stop and voluntarily got off their bus in another city, the Broward County Public Schools Transportation Department said Tuesday.
Samantha Cisneros, 10, and her parents had said that she was one of seven middle school girls who were dropped off at Broward Health North in Pompano Beach on the first day of school Monday. Samantha Cisneros said that she and the other students told the driver he had passed their destination and she asked him to stop, but he kept driving.
But the school district's Transportation Department said that the bus made its scheduled stops, including the one in question on Riverside Drive in Coral Springs. The bus stopped on the northbound side instead of the southbound side, and several students told the driver they didn't recognize the stop, the department said in a statement.
The driver told students who missed their stop to stay on the bus and he would drive them back to their stop after he finished his route, but some of the students got off near Sample Road in Pompano Beach, the department said.
The driver asked the students to return but they did not, according to the department. He later returned to Riverside Drive to drop off the remaining students who'd missed their stop there.
The account conflicts with that provided by the Cisneros and a relative of another student.
On Tuesday mother Tracy Cisneros said she was "really upset" and didn't believe the Transportation Department's account.
"Why would my daughter say what she’s saying? Reality is, even if they’re saying that he was doing the necessary steps, why did he let them off the bus?” she said.
She asked if the driver contacted dispatch and let them know that the students were getting off at the wrong location. According to the department, "dispatchers were notified of the situation."
Earlier Tuesday, Samantha Cisneros decided to catch a ride from her dad to school.
"Why would he just leave us stranded out in the middle of nowhere,” the 10-year-old girl of the driver. “We don't even know where we are."
Her father, Wilson Cisneros, said he stayed up last night wondering why his daughter ended up in Pompano Beach.
The Cisneros were not the only family affected.
Tony Sanders said his grandchild was also dropped off in the wrong city.
"People make mistakes but that was crazy," said Sanders.
“I don't wanna see anybody lose their job but you know if it's just stupidity, he don't need to be there," Sanders said of the bus driver.
Tracy Cisneros said a number of things about the situation didn't make sense. One of them was that during the trip the driver wouldn't tell her daughter their location or where he was going to drop them off, she said.
At the same time, Cisneros acknowledged, “Whatever they’re saying I’m sure has partial truth to it, but I don’t understand why my child would say these things. She wouldn’t lie."