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Jacksonville family wants answers after six-year-old daughter was dropped off at wrong bus stop

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville family is outraged after they say their six-year-old daughter was dropped off at the wrong bus stop on Dunn Avenue.

That child was forced to walk across a very busy intersection to get home. Thankfully, someone stopped her.

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“She was just left to the wolves,” said Joseph Simmons.

Joseph Simmons and his wife Christian are counting their blessings after they say their 6-year-old daughter Joi was involved in a scary incident.

“On December the 12th, she got on the bus to go home, regular day and the bus driver missed her stop,” said Joseph Simmons.

According to Simmons, his daughter was dropped off at the wrong bus stop location on Dunn Avenue forcing the six-year-old child to cross a busy intersection during the daytime just to get home.

Simmons adds his daughter told the bus driver it was the wrong stop, but she was forced off.

Joi’s mother Christian said this was a very scary moment for her.

“Joi is my rainbow baby. We had a child who passed away a couple of years ago, so I thought I was going to be going through it again, I was pretty hysterical,” said Simmons.

The family tells me a good Samaritan helped Joi get home.

“A good Samaritan stopped because she was about to walk across Dunn Avenue and 295. JSO and DCPS police, everyone was involved,” said Joseph Simmons

Joi’s parents now want DCPS and its school bus provider, Student Transportation of America, to be held accountable, the parents even reached out to the Jacksonville NAACP for help.

According to their vice president Hank Rodgers, the family told them about this issue.

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The NAACP held a meeting on Monday where an STA executive spoke about the incident, but according to Hank Rodgers, with the group, he failed to reflect a genuine concern.

“Is to call an emergency meeting with STA, to understand their policies and practices right now for student safety. If you can have a response with no sympathy, no concern then that shows us you care nothing about student safety,” said Rodgers.

DCPS sent us this statement about the incident:

“We are in agreement with NAACP regarding STA’s handling and response to this situation. We have very high expectations for student safety, and in this instance, STA fell short of the mark. We will be working to facilitate a satisfactory response from the company,”.

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We did reach out to STA for a statement, and they sent us the following:

“Student Transportation of America (STA) launched an internal investigation following an incident last December affecting a Duval County Public School (DCPS) student.

Preliminary results of that investigation showed that the bus driver was filling in for a route and unaware of a stop that had been recently added for a new student. Consequently, the student departed the bus with a peer at an incorrect stop. Once the terminal was notified, the local STA team immediately followed safety response protocols, including informing the DCPS and the Jacksonville Police Dept. The terminal also assigned their safety staff members to help locate the student. The student was then found and safely transported home.

STA’s highest priority is always to provide students with safe and reliable transportation services, and we are actively working with the district to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future. The bus driver involved has completed additional training and was reassigned.

STA’s leadership team has since spoken with the student’s parents privately and has committed to maintaining an ongoing dialogue. STA also reached out to the Jacksonville NAACP on February 27 to discuss the organization’s concerns further.”

As far as six-year-old Joi, her parents tell me she will no longer ride school buses.

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