LEFT BEHIND: Coolum High State School students leaving their bus on Wednesday morning during the fire emergency.
LEFT BEHIND: Coolum High State School students leaving their bus on Wednesday morning during the fire emergency. Peter Gardiner

Outrage as kids left on road in fire emergency

JUST one day before Day for Daniel, transport authorities are investigating complaints from parents after children were left on the roadside during the Peregian fires.

Police closed David Low Way just before the Havana Rd entrance to Coolum State High School just before 8am yesterday, triggering a cancellation of Buslink services.

Former school principal Derek Cairns complained to toABCthat his son was left on the side of the road with other students by his bus driver, who then departed.

Friday is Day for Daniel - the child safety initiative in honour of Sunshine Coast schoolboy Daniel Morcombe, who was abducted after a bus service failed to stop for him.

Daniel's murder eventually led to a "no child left behind" policy to prevent children being left stranded by buses.

"The bus driver opened the door and all the kids piled off," Mr Cairns told the ABC.

"They all went for a look, sort of thing, and some kids started heading back towards town, some started heading towards school because no one really knew, the rest of them were in the dark."

Mr Cairns said the duty of care had not been met.

"I think the kids should have been made to stay on the bus until someone knew what was going on, not just open the door and let them all off," he said.

"Because you just don't know what the risk was.

"I think there was a slip up there, in a sense the bus company should have [used] mobile radios to talk to their buses.

YoJoanne McKeown told the ABC she was driving her children to school and waited with four buses at the roadblock for about half an hour before she saw the drivers let the students out and then leave.

A Department of Education response stated no community members had complained about the bus diversions, but the department "holds the health and safety of students and staff as its number one priority".

TransLink stated it was working with private bus operator Buslink to investigate the matter.



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