Boy missing for hours in school bus mix up
YUKON, Okla. — A bus stop mix-up on the first day of school leaves an 8-year-old boy on a bus for two hours trying to get home.
His mother said the Yukon third grader realized something was not right and stayed onboard the bus, eventually ending up back at school.
“It really hit me when I had to call the police and tell them what my child looked like and what he was wearing,” Latosha Richey said.
Latosha snapped a picture of her son before his first day of third grade at Surrey Hills Elementary School.
Her husband dropped off their son at the school and the boy was supposed to ride the bus home.
“About 3:15 I’m thinking, ‘OK, he should be getting here pretty quickly.’ So I went out there and sat down and was waiting on him,” Richey said. “Two buses came through the neighborhood. By 3:45 he still wasn’t here.”
Richey said she called the school.
“The school told me ‘Hold on. Let us call the teacher and find out where he is,’” she said.
She said this went on for about two hours.
Richey said she called police and continued to call the school searching for her son.
“They were nonchalant about it like it was no big deal, just stay calm,” she said. “My son is missing for two hours and you’re telling me to just stay calm about it? This is my child.”
Richey said the driver tried to drop off her son at a neighborhood a few miles from their home.
“He was telling the bus driver ‘I don’t live here,’” she said.
Richey said her son ended up back at the school where his dad was waiting for him.
“I think they need maybe a checklist or something. They just need to get it together. There’s no reason. This is not acceptable,” Richey said. “Anything can happen to kids within a matter of seconds.”
School officials said four students, including Richey’s son, got on the wrong bus but Richey said that is not what happened.
“The people at the school put them on this bus and told them this was this right bus but they were trying to say it was my kid, that a whole neighborhood of kids got on the wrong bus,” Richey said. “You put your child in school and you trust the school to look over your kids.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Yukon Public Schools said four students rode the wrong bus home.
It stated that as soon as personnel learned of the situation, parents were called and the students were returned to the school where their parents picked them up.
They said it is their priotity to safeguard students and staff members followed proper protocol.
The spokesperson said the students were never left unsupervised.
School officials also said students are not allowed to get off a bus if they’ve told the bus driver they’re on the wrong bus.
They said parents are given their child’s bus route information at open house prior to the start of school.
The district admits the first day of class always brings new challenges.