Did bus pass by students during tornado warning?

Posted at 7:32 PM, Jan 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-29 19:32:15-05

Ingrid wants to make sure her son's school bus stops Friday morning.

She didn't want to give us her last name, but says the bus drove past her seventh grade son and other kids at the Boca Raton bus stop during a tornado warning Wednesday.

"I assumed the bus was going to come back or something," Ingrid says.

The bus didn't come back that day. So Ingrid went looking for answers. She says a transportation employee told her buses don't pick up students during tornado warnings.

"I was speechless, I didn't know what to think of say at that moment," she says.

Pete DiDonato, the Palm Beach County school district's transportation services administrator, says that's not really the case.

He explains if a bus is at the yard, or at a school, when the tornado warning is issued, the driver has to stay at its location until the alert is over.

If the driver is on the road when the warning is issued, the driver should continue their route, picking up students along the way.

But if the weather is too dangerous, drivers need to get out of harm's way. The children on board the bus are the school district's responsibility. While parents are responsible for children at bus stops.

"It's not fair for the parents," says Fabia, another parent who didn't want to give her last name. "We have to go to work, we can't take the kids to school everyday, that's why we use the bus."

DiDonato isn't exactly sure what happened Wednesday for the Boca Raton Middle School students. He says the transportation office recently changed that route, which may have added to the confusion.

Friday morning, the normal bus drove past the stop. Then about 15 minutes later, a different bus came to the stop. But parents had already left with many of the students at the stop, thinking no bus was coming.

"I hope they find exactly what happened and they fix it for the safety of the kids," Ingrid says.

DiDonato says he is looking into the specific issues with this stop.

Normally, the district sends out alerts, but weather warnings were popping up, expiring, then popping up over and over Wednesday morning, making it for the district hard to keep up.

Ingrid and Fabia say they never received an alert from the district.