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.
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