During the first week of school, two parents from separate districts said their children were dropped off by bus drivers in the wrong place without their parents present.
Mignon Tolbert said her son, 5-year-old Zaylen, walked off the bus Monday afternoon without being stopped or questioned in front of an apartment complex on Gembler Road. She said her son told her he followed some other children into the apartment complex, then walked the length of the large complex and another city block to get back to his home.
Tolbert knew something was wrong when his bus arrived at its designated stop and he wasn’t on it. Desperate to find him, Tolbert drove to the Cameron Academy office. All she found there was her son’s backpack.
“I started crying,” said Tolbert. “There was this period of what do we do, where is he at?”
Tolbert finally found out her son had returned home when she called her mother after nearly an hour-and-a-half of searching.
Leslie Price, a spokeswoman for the San Antonio Independent School District, said the district has reviewed video of the incident recorded with a camera mounted inside the bus and determined the driver made a mistake.
“The bus driver was talking to a group of parents, other children were getting off, and she thought that child was with one of those parents,” said Price.
Cassandra Lurate, a Northside Independent School District parent, faced a similar situation involving her son Christopher, who got off the bus in a different subdivision, but was lucky enough to be noticed by a concerned neighbor. She believes the district should implement a policy that young children should not be allowed off the bus unless accompanied by a parent.
“A kindergarten child should not be walking from the bus stop to the house. They're not old enough to unlock the door, not old enough to take care of themselves.”
Pascual Gonzales, a NISD spokesman, said the district does not currently require parents to be present when a child leaves a bus, but strongly encourages it.
Gonzales said the district is taking the incident seriously and is looking into the matter.
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