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Aug 1, 2014 1:46 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Bus doesn't drop off 6-year-old girl with Down syndrome

TUCSON - A family is upset the school bus did not drop off their 6-year-old daughter with Down syndrome on time.

Thursday was the first day of class. Alina Ortega was supposed to come home from Bloom Elementary School around 3:20 p.m. Alina does not know where she lives or when to get off the bus. After she was about 20 minutes late, her mother, Jacquelyn Ortega, called the Tuscon Unified School District transportation department.

"I specifically told the dispatcher that if you made a mistake, tell me. I understand that," Ortega said. "But nobody could give me answers."

A district spokesperson said they were not immediately able to contact that driver on the radio.

Ortega called police because nobody knew where her daughter was.

"Everybody knows the Isabel Celis case," Ortega said. "And she was six years old. And it's frightening."

Around 4:45 p.m., transportation officials eventually figured out Alina had been safely on the correct bus the whole time and she was located.

"I told them, ‘Have the bus stay put. We will go get her,'" Ortega said. "We got there and the bus driver told us that she was new and she got lost."

That evening, transportation officials had not had a chance to talk to the driver to figure out what went wrong. But the district spokesperson said they were not happy about that situation.

The transportation department always expects problems on the first day of school, but overall, it was a good day, according to the district spokesperson.


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