Re: Not happy with our elementary school!
First, how scary! I'd be really angry too if my 5 yo was put on a bus without the bus driver being informed where he should be going. And that the bus driver let him off without correct verification. A 5 yo might know who his dad is, but can't necessarily know whether there's a special custody/supervision arrangement in place; they know their neighbors, but whether a particular neighbor is a safe person to go with or not. It IS the bus driver's job to make sure that such a young child is let off the bus to the proper person.
It sounds like your issues are as much with the bus company as with the school, perhaps even more so. The school probably doesn't run the buses, but contracts out; it's to bus company's job to coordinate the routes
and give the school accurate information about routes, and to train their drivers about safety procedures. I'd take this up with the company. If the new principal is any good he or she probably already has done so, but I'd call the bus company myself, too.
As far as the school goes, their communication about the routes likely depends on the bus company's communication with them. That seems kind of an unknown... someone wasn't communicating well with you beforehand, but was that the bus company not giving the school accurate info, or the school not passing that info along to you? It sounds like the school did put your son on the correct bus, so they did do that part of the job correctly. However, if part of their procedure is to give every K child a name tag with an address and your son didn't get one, then they definitely fell short.
Seeing how procedures change from here, and what kind of response you get from the new principal and bus company will be a good indicator of whether they are reliable or not. If they don't see this as a big safety lapse (despite your son being fine), that would be very concerning to me, enough that I wouldn't use the bus again.
Mom to Maia, born 11/06, joined our family 3/07 and Malkias, born 8/08, joined our family 5/09