Child with special needs sent home on wrong bus after school in Hamilton

Child put on wrong school bus in Hamilton

HAMILTON, Ohio (FOX19) - A panicked mother sparked a search for her son when he didn’t get off of his school bus Monday afternoon.

The child is a second grader at Ridgeway Elementary in Hamilton.

Sarah Walker told FOX19 NOW her son has special needs and that the school is supposed to arrange for a van to pick up her child after school, but he was sent home on a regular school bus.

The 7-year-old was supposed to come home at 4 p.m. Monday, but his grandmother, Liz Rowe, said he was never dropped off.

“It was petrifying, it was so scary knowing how little he is and that he already was really nervous about going to school. He’s supposed to be on a special van to come home and no on knew where he was,” Rowe said.

Rowe said to make matters worse, when she called the Hamilton City Schools District in addition to not knowing where her grandson was, the district didn’t seem to know who her son was.

“When they couldn’t figure out where he was they said they pulled an ID picture of him or a school picture so they could see his face and they said they watched the films of kids getting on buses and finally said, ‘we think that’s him,’” said Rowe.

Rowe said it took about an hour for the school to find her grandson.

When the district contacted the driver of the bus he was on, they learned he was 20 minutes away from his home.

“It’s just unacceptable that we had to chase him down and really demand, I said ‘I’m not getting off of this phone until you find him,’” Rowe said.

Walker eventually met the bus driver at Winston and Bryant Street to pick up her son.

“I just hope they don’t let it happen to other kids," Walker said. "That’s our fear, what could of happened if he would’ve just got off the bus at a corner somewhere with other kids.”

Although Walker’s son is now safe at home, his grandmother said his condition causes anxiety and now he’s terrified to go back to school.

“It was very frightening. This will be a big hurdle for him to overcome,” Rowe said.

“A student did get on the wrong bus this afternoon and a communication was sent out through our transportation department. He was always under the Supervision of a HCSD employee and arrived safely home," Hamilton City Schools Spokesperson Joni Copas said.

The district would not comment any further.

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