NEW BRITAIN--Leslie Hary, a mother from New Britain, says she wants an explanation from the school district after her 10-year-old daughter Jaila was bused home on her first day of school for not submitting physical forms.
Hary said she was never notified before Jaila, who is entering sixth grade at Pulaski Middle School, was put on a bus shortly after arriving at school Monday morning.
Jaila said she was called to the nurse's office with other students and told they would be sent home because they had not submitted the proper medical paperwork proving they had been immunized to attend school.
"The teachers said we had three minutes to talk to our parents, and I didn't have my phone with me at the school," explained Jaila, who spoke exclusively to FOX 61. Jaila said when she tried to use the school's phone, she was told there were too many kids in the office and that she could not use it.
Jaila said the bus dropped her off blocks away from home, instead of at her usual corner bus stop.
"I was scared, and I didn't know where to go," said Jaila. Luckily, she was spotted by a neighbor, who was able to bring her home.
"As someone that is responsible for my child, they should've taken the steps to call me and let me know that my daughter was on her way home," said Hary.
In a statement to FOX 61, Superintendent Nancy Sarra said district policy requires proper proof of immunization and a physical for students to attend school. Sarra said students were given ample communication about the requirements:
The administration team at Pulaski Middle School has been working hand-in-hand with the nursing staff at the school throughout the summer months. During that time, four Connect-Ed calls went out and one personal call from a teacher went out to every student who still needed to turn in their physical.
Additionally, all students leaving fifth grade each year are told of the requirements for a physical at the end of the school year. Furthermore, all parents who had students in sixth grade last year at Pulaski were notified at Parent-Teacher Conferences in April that they should be sure their child’s inoculations were up to date, to return the paperwork to the school, and ensure proof that the updated records were on file at the school. Finally, at the most recent sixth-grade/new student orientation on August 18 at Pulaski, parents were also reminded of this policy and expectations.
Ensuring students have had physicals and proper immunizations is a priority for the Consolidated School District of New Britain.
Hary said she never received any communication from the district about a request for medical paperwork. She believes the bigger problem, however, was busing her daughter back to an empty home without her knowledge. "Where could she have been?" said Hary. "That's my fear."
Concerned, Hary said she went to speak to Jaila's principal, Mark Fernandes, on Monday afternoon, but left frustrated, saying his only concern was the paperwork.
"'But it's her physical' -- he just kept bringing that up," said Hary. "And with an attitude."
Hary believes she deserves an apology or explanation for what happened. "Someone needs to be held responsible for what just happened to my daughter."
The New Britain School District refused to comment when asked about busing students home without parental permission.
In a statement from Daatco, the bus company said it's company policy to use neighborhood stops when students need unplanned transportation. Daatco said it will review Monday's transportation with the New Britain School District. Here's the full statement:
Today in New Britain several high school and middle school students required unplanned transportation back from school to locations within the city. Neighborhood stops were utilized to accomplish this transportation using allowable guidelines and procedures.
Our first concern is the safety of all of the students we transport, and we are thankful that all children arrived safely home today. We work closely with the New Britain public schools On all transportation concerns, and will review today’s transportation with them.