Mother questions why school administrators placed her son on a CATS bus

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Deaqunita Joseph displayed the school pass she says her 14 year old son was given after he chipped his tooth during a morning gym class at Valley Park Alternative School. A pass Deaqunita says her son received from an assistant principal just minutes after she spoke with the principal of the school.

"I couldn't come get him because I was out of town and he said that was fine, I didn't have to come get him," said Joseph.

Imagine her surprise when she received a call nearly five hours later that afternoon from a CATS bus driver who told her that her son had been traveling on city buses all day.

"The city bus lady was so nervous she was like do you know who you can call? Where are you going? He didn't know anything, he didn't even know the name of the street we live on," said Joseph.

Joseph, who has only been in Baton Rouge for three months, says she then called the principal back immediately to find out why her son was placed on a city bus.

"He told me that my son was still at school, that no one gave him permission to get on a bus. I said he has to be on a city bus because I spoke to him," added Joseph.

It turns out Deaqunita's son was indeed placed on a CATS bus. A scenario she says she never approved.

"Parental consent, they have to give express consent before a child is put on a city bus," said east Baton Rouge school Executive Director of Communications Susan Nelson.

Nelson admits the school was at fault in this case and that the assistant principal who gave Deaqunita's son a pass and put him on the bus should never have done so.

"This was clearly a mistake on the part of the administrator that made the decision to send the student on a city bus without parental consent and that's something the principal will be dealing with as an administrative matter," added Nelson.

As for the matter of Deaqunita not having numerous phone calls returned by school administrators or board members, Nelson says that too was an error on the part of EBR schools.

"We look at parents in this district as customers. We want to make sure they're taken care of and their needs are met so the fact that she wasn't called back timely that is also a concern and the superintendent will definitely address," said Nelson.

All part of an experience Joseph hopes she doesn't have to go through ever again.

"I was panicking until I got him, until I saw him getting off that bus," said Joseph.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.