On first day of school, Fayetteville 6-year-old put on bus by mistake

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022
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A Fayetteville mom waited for two hours to pick up her son at school, only to learn that he'd been put on a bus home, where no one was waiting to greet him.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Avery Johnson couldn't have been more excited for the first day of class at Brentwood Elementary School in Fayetteville.

That unfortunately is not how the 6-year-old's day ended though.

"I don't know how many times this has happened to any other child," said Tracy Williamson, Avery's mother. "I don't want this to happen to nobody else after today."

Tracy was at the school to pick up her son in carpool but somehow he wound up on a school bus.

She said she waiting for him to come back to the school but Avery wound up at their home.

"He was knocking on the door and nobody was home," she said. "Of course, my neighbor found him outside the door crying because nobody was home to get him."

The principal apologized and tried to reach out to the driver but the driver was in transit and couldn't respond. ABC11 has reached out to Cumberland County Schools to see how this happened but hasn't heard back.

"I sat at that school for two hours unbeknownst to me because the driver allowed my 6-year-old to get off the bus by himself with no parents, nobody was there to get him," Tracy said.

The first day of school in Wake County for traditional calendar students went a bit smoother.

Our cameras saw long carpool lines at Penny Road Elementary School. Some buses were delayed as well but there were no major issues.

"I am very excited," said Hajnalka Kleiman, a mother of four students in Wake County Public Schools. "I think it's going to be a great school year."

She said her son's bus not only came early in the morning on the first day but also dropped off right on schedule.

Her daughter at Apex Middle School hasn't been assigned a math teacher just yet but she was given a room number to go to and another teacher is filling in for the time being

The state's largest district said last week that it is down more than 400 teachers and 192 teacher aides.

Hajnalka said even though her son's route drops him off later than she'd like, she's grateful for the transportation and for school to be open as normally as possible.

"I'm so thankful we're open that we're in person and everything is coming back to normal which is very encouraging," she said.

Cumberland County Schools provided ABC11 this statement about the incident:

"Our top priority is the safety of our students. While we regret this situation happened, we are grateful that the student is safe. District and school officials are looking into this situation to determine exactly what happened and how we can prevent it from happening in the future. Our Transportation Department works with our school personnel to safely transport approximately 26,000 students to and from our schools on a daily basis. We will use this as a learning experience as we continue to improve our transportation services."

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