CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – The start of the week was normal for Tiffanie Julin. Until she took her lunch break.
“She gave me a big hug and just started sobbing and said my bus dropped me off at the wrong spot. I’ve been walking a long time. I don’t know where I am,” Julin said.
Julin said she pulled into her apartment complex and saw a little girl walking on the side of Bloomington Rd. toward Mattis Ave. She said she checked if she was okay, and that’s when she learned her bus had dropped her off at the wrong place.
“I cried honestly, and I started to tear up, because you feel for her, you know, it’s a sad situation. It shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” she said.
She found the girl’s home and family about 3 miles away from where she was.
“A long way for a little 6-year-old to be walking all alone, and it’s like 90 degrees outside,” she said.
Julin said she doesn’t know how long she had been walking for. She said when she got her home, her family was relieved, but also confused.
“Because they were waiting at her bus stop and were confused because she wasn’t there,” she said.
We reached out to the Champaign School District. They gave us a statement that said in part, “On a daily basis, Unit 4 School District transports more than 6,000 students to and from school. Currently, we are operating with only 50% of our regularly available bus drivers.”
Julin said, no matter what, the child should not be responsible.
“It’s not her fault at all the bus drivers and teachers getting them on the bus, and everybody is responsible besides that child,” she said.
And she said something needs to change.
“I’m like what is going on here, something needs to be done, and it needs to be addressed, and fixed so the children of Champaign can stay safe, because this is not okay,” she said.
The school said they are aware of concerns like this, and they have started an internal investigation. They said their goal is to ensure adequate supervision and safe travel for students.
If you or someone you know would like to help out, you can apply to become a bus driver here.