Local girl misses bus; driver blamed

 By Max Fontaine * Hard-news beat reporter

Shauna (Last Name Withheld), 7, missed the bus a few weeks ago and had to be driven to school by her dad, on his way to work.

“I take full responsibility,” admitted Shauna’s father, 31. “She’s gotta stop dawdling in the morning. That’s all on me and her mother, but — geez, it made me late for work.”

Shauna’s father claimed, initially off-the-record, that the bus driver made a hasty decision, driving off prematurely instead of waiting as long as possible for the student to sprint awkwardly out of the house toward the road, with backpack nearly toppling her backward en route, then boarding the bus as fellow students laughed.

Longtime Bass Lake bus-driver Kirk Kirkpatrick denied those allegations during a phone interview with the Beacon.

“Listen, I honked twice, which is protocol,” Mr. Kirkpatrick said. “Listen, we have a schedule to keep. It isn’t fair to the other kids if another kid isn’t ready like all the other kids. If every kid did that, none of the kids would ever get to school at the same time as the other kids.”

Bass Lake School Board of Education officials this week decided to suspend Kirkpatrick for one day without pay, sometime next fall, and also determined in a 4-3 vote that Shauna’s dad is a “media tattletale.”

Follow-up: Shauna Name-Withheld’s father fired for violating workplace tardiness code

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