Havre Daily News
Two young Havre students took the long way home after school Monday. The first day of school began well, but it ended with a few minor hitches in the Havre Public Schools bus system, including one bus breakdown.
A Highland Park Early Primary School first-grade boy was taken to his former bus stop, not the one intended for him this year, principal Jeff Blessum said today. The boy recognized that it was the wrong stop and stayed on the bus, exactly as he was supposed to do, Blessum said.
The boy was returned to Highland Park and awaited his parents there.
Wayward students can be found at their school or, after school hours, at the Havre Public Schools garage, director of transportation Ginger Zanto said today.
"He had a smile on his face. And of course we fed him an appropriate nutrtional snack," Blessum said of the boy's stay at the Highland Park office.
A Lincoln-McKinley Primary School second-grade girl missed her stop, leading her mother on a frantic chase around the neighborhood that ended near the missed stop.
Catalina Sloan said she was concerned when she didn't find her daughter at her stop about 3 p.m. More than an hour later, after several calls to friends, her husband and the school bus garage, Sloan found her daughter, 7-year-old Talina, on the bus headed back to her stop for a second pass.
Talina had missed her stop, Zanto said. Bus drivers call out the names of students in grades kindergarten through third grade who are supposed to get off the bus, but sometimes young students don't get off, she said.
By the time the Highland Park route was nearly finished, Zanto had talked to Catalina Sloan and found the bus Talina was riding.
Because of busy phone lines, Zanto was not able to tell Sloan, Zanto said.
Sloan was conducting her own search, meanwhile, stopping HPS buses to check for her daughter. She said she saw two buses on the road near Talina's intended stop.
One had just broken down and a second was sent to replace it, Zanto said.
Sloan checked those buses and found Talina on one of them.
Talina would have been taken to her stop to meet her parents and then back to school if they could not be found, Zanto said.
Zanto said the bus breakdown slowed dropoffs a bit.
Talina, meanwhile, will be riding the bus home again today, Sloan said. Talina will carry a list of contact numbers and addresses in case she ever gets lost.
Zanto said parents should take their children to their afternoon stops and be sure the students recognize the stop and know how to get home.
She also asked for some patience.
"Sometimes, on the first day of school, we're running a little bit late," Zanto said. "It takes us longer to load at school and kids are unfamiliar (with the routine) and drivers are too."
Parents who want to find a missing student should call the bus garage at 265-9032, Zanto said. Only one person should call about a particular child to avoid confusing the staff, she said.