It was a scary situation for a Graniteville mother after her 5-year-old didn't make it home from school on the bus. (WRDW-TV)
News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WRDW) -- It was a scary situation for a Graniteville mother after her 5-year-old didn't make it home from school on the bus.
It's been a few weeks now, and Jessica Parker says she's still learning surprising details from that day.
"It's a very scary situation, and I would not want any parent to have to go through something like this," Parker said.
About three weeks ago, she says she waited at her front door for her daughter to get off the bus, but she never did.
"I got on the phone, and I called the school, and I said look, my child isn't on the bus, where is she at?" she said.
After no sign of her child, she drove to the school.
"My blood was just boiling," she said.
Parker's daughter has court orders on file, allowing only certain people to pick her up.
"I called my mom and I said, look, I'm calling the cops," she said.
Aiken County Sheriff's deputies came, but a bus finally pulled up with her daughter on it around 4:20 p.m. -- more than two hours after she is usually dropped off at home.
Denise Watson, Area 3 Transportation Supervisor for Aiken County Schools, says, "It was just an unusual incident, but fortunately, both drivers followed procedure, they both did return the students back."
The Transportation Department says the school put two students on the wrong buses that day. They say the confusion probably came from a new bus route that started that day.
"The child in reference was to be put on the new bus that day," Watson said.
Parker was nearly over the whole thing until a trip through Graniteville about a week later took a turn.
"She pointed, she said, 'Mommy, that's where I was at.' And I was like, what do you mean that's where you were at?" she said.
The school bus dropped her daughter, Whitney, off a couple of miles from home at Starbright Childcare Center.
Geneva Adams, director of Starbright, says she remembers that day.
"I said, 'Well who are you?' And she told me her name, and I said, 'Well, you're at the wrong place.' And she said, 'I don't know?'"
Adams says she ran back outside and put Whitney back on the bus, but this was all news to her mom.
"I did not actually find out through an adult, I had to wait to find out through my 5-year-old child," she said.
She says about three weeks have gone by, and her phone calls haven't been returned by the school board.
A transportation supervisor told News 12 that it's the school's fault when students end up on the wrong bus. The principal at Byrd Elementary says they can't comment on this specific incident but do say there are occasional mix-ups with students.
However, they told us when this does happen, they call transportation officials immediately to correct the problem.