SEATTLE — He couldn’t convince his teacher they were about to put him on the wrong school bus, and that led to a scary afternoon for one Bagley Elementary kindergartner.
Now, the boy’s parents want answers and guarantees that nothing like this will happen again.
On Sept. 12 as school was letting out, a 5-year-old boy insisted to his teacher and the school bus driver that he was supposed to stay on-campus for an after-school program, but they weren’t having it. So, they loaded him onto a bus he wasn’t supposed to be on and forced him to get off more than a mile away from where he was supposed to be.
“I’m very upset,” his mother Carrie Hayes said. “I’m very worried that this could happen to others and that this is going to happen again. It could have been a much more unsafe situation.”
Hayes also worries her son won’t feel safe getting on a school bus again.
“Every day since then he’s asked for me to take him and pick him up,” she said. “Today I actually walked him down to school and he asked me to go into the class with him.”
Hayes enrolled her son into an after-school program with the Boys & Girls Club at Bagley Elementary so he didn’t have to leave the school. But, she didn’t realize there are three different Boys & Girls Club programs available to Bagley students and that two of the programs are offered at other locations.
“If I had known, I would have indicated which Boys & Girls Club,” Hayes said.
Seattle Public Schools admit the mix-up is their fault and said an assistant misheard which program Hayes wanted her son to attend.
When the young boy was forced on to the bus, he was then dropped off at the North Seattle Boys & Girls Club where the driver had a 5th grade student take him inside, the district said.
“He was really upset at first,” Joan Caldon with the Boys & Girls Club said. “As soon as he got in the club he was ready to play and have some fun — there’s a ton of kids in there.”
Once Caldon realized the mistake, they had to figure out who the child was and where he was supposed to be.
“He didn’t know his phone number, but he knew his address,” Caldon said. “He kept saying his address over and over again.” Caldon drove the kindergartener home and fortunately, his dad was there.
“We keep telling him he did the right thing, he found an adult,” Hayes said. “If he’s forced on a bus he doesn’t think he should go on he should tell somebody, which he tried to do.”
Hayes filed a formal complaint with the district but has not heard back from them.
A district spokesperson said they are re-enforcing the correct procedures to employees to make sure students arrive at the correct destination after school.