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Left stranded by school bus

A Winnipeg mother is unhappy with school officials after her nine-year-old daughter spent more than two hours in the bitter cold when her school bus didn't show up.

Izabella Roberts wants to know why the St. James-Assiniboia School Division didn't call to let her know the bus wasn't going make it on Tuesday morning.

She is also angry that no one notified her sooner that her daughter Tumia hadn't made it to classes at Ecole Assiniboine School.

Tumia had to be treated in hospital for exposure to temperatures that dipped down to almost -30 C Tuesday morning.

Supt. Brett Lough says the school bus driver was delayed by a collision and for some reason chose to omit part of his route.

Lough says the driver didn't notify the dispatcher, so the school was left in the dark about the situation.

The driver works for a company hired by the school division and it's "the responsibility of the school division to ensure that contracted services are provided,” Lough acknowledged Wednesday.

The school division is reviewing protocols to make sure something like this doesn't happen again, he added.

In total, nine children were absent from school because of the missed pickup, he said, but Tumia's case "is the only one we're aware of where someone was hurt.”

Tumia said she walked home when the bus didn't show up, tipped over a garbage bin and climbed over a fence into her backyard. She thought she could get back inside her house using the back door.

But the door was locked and Tumia couldn't get back out of the yard.

"I just curled up into a ball and had my face in my school backpack," she said.

Her mother said the locks on the front door had recently been changed and that's why Tumia couldn't get in the house that way.

Roberts said no one from the school called her until after 10:30 a.m. to notify her about her daughter's absence.

When she did get a call and went home, she called out her daughter's name and found her in the backyard "half frozen."

"She started telling me her body hurts. If they didn't call me sooner, and I didn't come until 12, it could've been a lot worse."



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