School Bus Stop Mistake Sparks East Bay Lawsuit

PITTSBURG (CBS 5) – An East Bay school district says it is not to blame after a 5-year-old girl was let off a school bus all alone in the wrong neighborhood – a court has ruled otherwise.

Lisa Della Rocca says her daughter Isabelle’s daycare provider was waiting for the bus last October, but Instead of dropping the child off at the regular stop, the substitute bus driver for the Mt. Diablo School District stopped somewhere else. It’s still unclear how far away she was from home and her regular stop.

“They lost my daughter,” said Della Rocca. “They dumped my daughter by herself on the street with no adult present.”

Isabelle later told her mom she had a nightmare about that day. A therapist told them it was post traumatic stress disorder.

Della Rocca took the district to small claims court – asking for $7,500 in damages. A judge awarded her $1,000 – plus $85 in court fees. The district is appealing.

“I don’t’ think we did anything wrong. We think it’s sending a wrong message to pay off nuisance claims like this,” said Greg Rolen of the MDUSD, who said a change in district drop off policy is not an admission of guilt. “We decided to improve. We don’t think we did anything wrong.”

Rolen is the districts general counsel and oversees the transportation department. He said the law firm handling the appeal has agreed to cap its fees to a thousand dollars.

We certainly don’t want to invite similar lawsuits that take bus drivers off the street, take administrators off the street, and have them sitting in court for 6 hours.

Isbelle’s mom says she’s not worried about her daughter taking the bus now because she’s older and rides with other children. But she wants an admission of responsibility and an apology.

Both sides will be back in court next month.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Paul Brewer

    PTSD ??? My A—– !!!!! An unfortunate unintentional incident ? YES !! Everything turned out okay…..get over it ! Perhaps a story worth remembering to tell the grandkids…….
    My dad had his SHOULDER blown off on Biak Island in WW II…..No psychologists… concept or idea of “PTSD” then….although that would be ‘slightly’ more deserving and authentically meritorious.

  • LateNight

    DID YOU EVEN READ THE ARTICLE? a FIVE YEAR OLD GIRL was let off the school bus in the wrong neighborhood with ZERO adults present. She had no idea where she was, and apparently no way of contacting anyone to help her.

    With all the pedophiles around now days, that was an open invitation for some slimeball to kidnap the girl, rape her, and murder her, and no one would even know what happened to her. Even though we only lived two blocks from the bus stop when my daughter was that age, my wife met her at the bus stop every single day. If she couldn’t meet the bus, she made arrangements with a classmate’s parent or a grandparent to meet the bus.

    Yes, everything turned out okay, no thanks to a$$hats like you. PTSD was around during WWII, and Korea, and Viet Nam, but military psychiatrists were not allowed to diagnose it… PTSD was not considered a problem until Desert Storm, when thousands of servicemen and women had serious problems reintegrating into society.

  • Jim

    $1000 is more than sufficient compensation for this. The daughter was dropped off in a relatively safe area, presumably in the daytime, where the odds of anything happening are extremely remote. In all likelihood a policeman would find her before a pedophile. To put risk into perspective, she probably had a greater chance of being killed in a highway accident on the bus than being attacked by a pedophile. America is way too lawsuit-happy these days.

    • sfmom

      Actually, $1,000 is not very much if the child needs to see a therapist to help her deal with the trauma.

      • Mrs Mother first

        this happen to my child in the worst neiborhood who do I contact first to make sure this doest happen to my now 4 yr. old or someonelse child?

    • Paul Brewer

      PTSD is NOT an instant diagnosis ….but a phenomena that manifests itself over time ! What this child needs is reassurance, love, and a family that will fulfill an emotional atmosphere of safety…….doesn’t cost a dime. But I guess this “psychologist” and all the material goodies (…?) will suffice.

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