A MOTHER has hit out after her 11-year-old son was left stranded at a bus stop after losing his bus pass.
Lorraine Allen was furious after finding out her son Gavin Harvey had not been allowed on his school bus.
The youngster, of Deneside in Seghill, was turned away by the driver of his bus to Seaton Sluice Middle School on Monday morning because he had lost his bus pass.
“He has lost his bus pass before, and they have allowed him to travel for a few days while I was waiting for a new pass to arrive,” said Lorraine.
“I was unable to inform anyone he did not have his pass before he left for school, and he was told he was not allowed on the bus and was left on his own at the bus stop.”
Luckily, Mrs Allen had not left her home for work at the time, so she was able to take her son the three-and-a-half-mile journey to school, but she says she dreads to think what would have happened if that had not been the case.
“On a normal day, I would have already left for work. If this had been the case, my son would have been stranded on his own,” she said.
“About four weeks ago, the school sent a letter home saying that there was a man driving around trying to take children near the school – and now they’re leaving kids stranded.
“I think this is an absolute disgrace. Anything could have happened to my child.”
Lorraine says she has been told an order to refuse travel to children without passes was given to North Shields transport firm Priory Coach and Bus two weeks ago, but parents were not informed.
A letter sent to her by headteacher David Street on Monday said: “Seaton Sluice Middle School believes that all children on the school transport list must be transported to school every morning whether they have their pass or not.
“Parents do have a responsibility to make sure their child has a pass, but that pales into insignificance when compared to the safety of the child.
“Following my discussions with school transport staff, they have relaxed their previous instructions and will allow all pupils on the school transport list to travel.”
Mark Cusack, passenger transport operations manager at Northumberland County Council, said: “All children who have been granted school transport must show their boarding pass to the driver before boarding the bus, so we can account for every child on the vehicle.
“We don’t normally insist that drivers refuse entry if a child doesn’t have a pass.
“Normally, a driver would take down the child’s name and let them board with a reminder to get their pass sorted out for the next day.
“This level of action has not, however, resulted in improvement on this run.
“There have been serious cases of misconduct by some children on buses from Seghill to Seaton Sluice Middle.
“A key first step in overcoming these problems is to ensure that only those children entitled to travel are on the bus.”
By ensuring compliance, behaviour has improved significantly.
“All parents have been informed that they need to ensure their child has a valid pass with them.”