BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - One mother is angry at the West Seneca School District after her 5-year-old son was dropped off in the wrong town by the school bus.
After finishing his first day of kindergarten on Tuesday, 5-year-old Jon Anderson was supposed to be driven home, but instead he ended up several miles away outside an apartment building where no adult was present to meet him.
Anderson attends Central Charter in Buffalo, but lives in Blasdell. The West Seneca School District is responsible for his transportation to and from school. Superintendent Dr. Mark Crawford acknowledges the bus driver went against school policy.
"We have a practice in transportation where for kindergarten children, they are not to be let off the bus unless a parent's there. So that protocol was not followed," he said.
Crawford says the bus driver believed Anderson was another little boy, who was actually absent on Tuesday, and took Anderson to an apartment building in Cheektowaga, several miles away from his home. For two hours, the 5-year-old wandered around the town until a Good Samaritan, herself a former bus driver, called police.
Mary LaPorte saw Anderson crying and approached the boy.
"He was walking in the parking lot and he was walking this way and he looked like he was crying. So I asked him, 'Are you okay?' He said, 'No, I want my mom.' He said he doesn't live over here and that his bus driver just dropped him off," she said.
The boy's mother, Valencia Bates, who is also a bus driver for First Student, is furious with the bus driver.
"My baby sat on the curb and and cried. When he saw me, when I came out of the police station I told him 'I love you so much.' I was lost," she said. "Anyone could have gotten Jon. Anybody not in their right mind could have got my baby."
Bates says Anderson was too afraid to take the bus Wednesday morning, and she opted to pick him up from school herself Wednesday afternoon.
Crawford said, "I'm in my 40th year of school work. I don't ever remember anything rising to this level either. So it's alarming, it's a tremendous concern of ours and we are addressing it, as I say, firmly."
The superintendent would not say if the bus driver would be fired, calling it an "internal matter."
Cheektowaga Police say if this should ever happen to your child, parents can help by keeping key information with the student.
"Put your contact information: phone number, address, certainly a cell phone number that we can contact the parent, immediately in the backpack with the young man of the young girl," urged Capt. Jim Speyer.
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