Wake County mom says bus driver let her daughter off bus unsupervised

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Friday, August 31, 2018

WAKE COUNTY, NC (WTVD) -- A River Bend Elementary School parent is upset with her daughter's school after she says a bus driver let her daughter off the bus unsupervised.

Heather Mazzone told ABC11 her 6-year-old daughter Michelle was supposed to take the carpool home Thursday afternoon.

Both Mazzone and WCPSS have acknowledged a request was made to switch the first grader from a bus drop off to carpool.

As Mazzone arrived at the school to pick up her daughter, the school informed the parent that Michelle took the bus home; however, Mazzone claimed a school staff member told her she personally walked Michelle to the carpool. The first-grader denied being taken to carpool and said she was taken directly to the bus pickup.

"It was just the worst fear of my entire life," Mazzone said. "I've never felt anything like that ever before."

Mazzone said she called the police to help find her daughter. Around 45 minutes later, Mazzone was reunited with her daughter in a large parking lot that serves their apartment complex.

The first grader was wandering around the complex crying before someone nearby spotted her and tried to get in touch with her mother.

During the first few days of a new school year, it's not uncommon for mix-ups with student pick up and drop offs; however, certain age and grade restrictions are in place to prevent these scenarios from happening.

"That bus driver is responsible for keeping (Michelle) safe until she is back with me," Mazzone added. Her daughter's backpack carries a tag to alert staff members that she is not to be let off the bus without a parent present. "I'm always going to wonder if something like that is going to happen again," said Mazzone.

WCPSS told ABC11 the bus driver has been placed on non-driving duty while the matter is being investigated.

The district also said the threat to Rolesville High School Thursday delayed all the busses in the area.