Child mistakenly rides school bus

August 30, 2011 7:04:22 PM PDT
The first week of school got off to a frightening start for a Fayetteville mother whose 6-year-old, first-grade son mistakenly rode the school bus home.

"I'm not mad, I'm more scared because that's my baby," mother Monique Mackey said. "That's all I got, that's what I live for."

Mackey said her son has wanted to ride the school bus, "but me being the protective mom, no, I'll drop you off. So, this time I will let him go and my biggest fear has come true."

Adrian Moody rides the bus to school in the morning but is supposed to stay in after school care at Alderman Road Elementary School until his mom picks him up late in the afternoon.

However, on Monday Moody rode a school bus back to his neighborhood and an empty, locked home. No one at the school apparently knew he was missing.

It's Mackey's worst nightmare.

"Now, you have people that bother kids whether they are boys or girls, it doesn't matter, they see a little kid and pick them up," she said. "That bothers and scares me."

School policy prohibits bus drivers from dropping off kindergarten through second grade students at any bus stop with no parental supervision.

Mackey said she reminded school officials three times last week that her son was to stay in after school care.

Moody rode the bus home with a friend and his friend's mother had Mackey's cell phone number, so she left a voicemail that said, "'Oh, by the way, Adrian is at my house.'"

"She knows my son doesn't ride the school bus," Moody added.

ABC11 Eyewitness News asked Cumberland County Public Schools why the school bus driver or the substitute teacher didn't know Moody was not supposed to get on the afternoon bus.

"At this point, the principal is still investigating the incident," said Theresa Perry, Cumberland Schools. "If we find it's a violation of procedure, certainly it will be addressed as such."

While ABC11 was at Mackey's home, Al Miller, the school systems' transportation director, stopped by and apologized. He promised to get an answer.

Mackey said it's not so much an answer she and other parents need to hear as it is "trust" knowing the school system is as good as its word.

On Tuesday, the school announced the bus driver and the substitute teacher were suspended until further notice.

School officials tell ABC11 the bus driver has an administration hearing Wednesday. The substitute teacher's care is still under review.

"We do take it seriously," Perry said. "It's our responsibility to get students home safely, so we have to take it seriously."

Mackey says there are lessons learned for parents as well as school officials.

"You do this, you do that, ABC just remind our children so stuff like this doesn't happen or when it does, you know what to do," she said.

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