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Mom: Bus abandoned special needs girl outside home

September 17, 2010 3:55:13 PM PDT
Chicago-area mother Lois Rutledge always meets her daughter's bus when she comes home from school, and that's because her daughter has special needs.Thursday, however, the bus came early, dropping the girl off all alone in front of her home.

Now, Rutledge wants to know why no one from the school informed her about the schedule change.

Her daughter is fine. In fact, Rutledge is thankful a Good Samaritan stopped and took care of the girl until she arrived home. That person decided not to go on camera -- asking that ABC7 allow her act of kindness to speak for her.

In the meantime, while Rutledge is thankful that her daughter is safe, she's still angry and wants not only the school bus attendant, but also the person driving the bus, to be held accountable for their actions.

"She could have gone across the street and been hit by a car. She doesn't know how to cross the street. I thought that was very sad," said Rutledge.

The working mother says problems began Thursday afternoon when school officials at Ray Graham failed to inform her that her daughter, Alexandra, would be brought home around 3 p.m., instead of her usual 3:30 to 4 p.m. drop-off time.

The 21-year-old student is developmentally disabled and cannot speak.

Rutledge wasn't home when Alexandra arrived and says her daughter was left with a neighborhood resident who happened to be passing by.

The girl's mother says the school bus driver and attendant, whom Rutledge admits to having run-ins with in the past, eventually returned.

"I'm not bitter because of yesterday, but because of the three years that my baby has been on the bus with this lady?I said, 'I don't want to talk to you. If you left my kid here like this, I say we have nothing to say because that was very unprofessional and that's unacceptable,' Rutledge said.

The bus company involved and the school both refused to comment about the incident, while Chicago Public Schools officials would only say the matter is being investigated.

Meanwhile, Lois Rutledge hopes talking about the incident will help keep other children safe.

"I'm going to speak for my child. When you do her wrong, you're doing me wrong," said Rutledge.

Rutledge says she will allow her daughter to continue to attend Ray Graham, but will now take her to and pick her up from school.

It was still unclear Friday evening what disciplinary action the school bus attendant --who is an employee of the Chicago Public Schools -- will face.


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