South Bend. Ind. The Director of Transportation for the South Bend Community School Corp. says a special needs school bus that was 2 hours late dropping students off was one of three buses stuck due to winter weather.
Patsy Lamphier told NewsCenter 16 Friday that her 13-year-old son Michael, who is autistic, usually arrives home around 3:30 after school. When an hour passed with no sign of her son, Lamphier began trying to contact the school corporation and then police.
“There was absolutely no communication,” said Lamphier’s sister and Michael’s aunt, Misty Lamphier. Every number we called, we were told ‘We're closed.’ We were scared, petrified, we didn't know what happened to him.”
Director of Transportation Michael Nolen told NewsCenter 16 the driver of the bus tried to call parents but could not get a cell phone signal at that location.
"Once she was moving and got a signal she called several of the parents," Nolen said. "Our Dispatch office fielded several calls from parents... The police called me and I contacted dispatch and we were able to confirm Michael was on the bus. The police relayed that information to the parent."
As of late Friday evening, the Lamphiers said they never heard from the school directly.
Michael’s family says they filled out an emergency contact card for just this occasion and were concerned that they were never contacted during the course of the two hour delay.
"I have now directed staff to send out an alert via school messenger anytime there is going to be a significant delay," Nolen said, who says the effort is to prevent further delays in communication with the parents.