BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. Imagine dropping your child off at the bus stop, see them physically get on the bus, yet they don’t make it to school.
That was was the case for one Baton Rouge mother, who says school officials lost track of her 5-year-old son.
“I was just really scared not knowing what was going on at the moment, every moment that they didn’t know where he was,” said Sydney Alexander.
Alexander is the mother of two 5-year-old twin boys with autism and speech delay.
One Wednesday, Alexander said while one of her sons stayed home, she dropped off the other at the bus stop at around 6:40 a.m. to head to Park Forest Elementary.
He never showed up.
“I was just terrified. I know he cannot tell anybody who he is or where he belongs, and I was really scared for him because he can’t defend himself,” said Alexander.
Alexander says she found out before 9 a.m. Wednesday morning that her son had been dropped off at Greenbrier Elementary, which is more than two miles away from the school her kids attend.
She was later told her son got on the right bus at first, however the bus took him to the wrong school.
“And the reason they said he got put over there is because there was more than one set of twins on the bus. I’m not understanding how you can get my children mixed up with somebody else’s children,” she said.
The start of the school year always comes with headaches, many WAFB viewers have shared their complaints with staff.
The East Baton Rouge Parish School System has not commented on any specific incident, but said of the bus system overall, “Every year, the first few weeks of school can be a hectic time for the Transportation Department as they work to add new students, update student records, and adjust and consolidate routes.”
However, this mom just hopes they work out the kinks sooner than later.
“I really hope that this doesn’t happen to anybody else’s child. It’s like the scariest thing you do not want to experience. I just want them to pay more attention to the children that they have on their bus. We as parents really depend on them to get our children to where they belong,” said Alexander.
She says her twins are still both shaken up by the incident, and haven't left each other's sides since Wednesday.
A spokesperson with the school system did say they’ve been having a “fantastic start” to the year in regards to transportation.
Here are some tips EBR Schools gave us to tell parents:
- Parents of Elementary students can help by ensuring their child is wearing a back pack tag with their bus info on it. (Sample tag can be found on EBR Schools website)
- Parents can download the Where’s the Bus App to track where their child’s bus is located on its route in real time.
- The school system says it has also added additional staff to support the call center and the routing center.
“The Transportation Department is working to accommodate all of our riders to make bus routes as seamless and efficient as possible. To reach the transportation hotline please call (225)366-3660. Visit our website ebrschools.org for additional transportation resources,” said a spokesperson with the school system.