A 5-year-old boy was mistakenly dropped off at home by a school bus Monday afternoon in Rock Hill, when no one was home, according to his mother, police and school officials.
The child’s parents say they were terrified for more than a hour and half until their son was found safe at home by a neighbor.
“My son was missing for almost two hours,” said Tiera Flanagan, mother of the child. “He was scared. I was scared. His father was scared. I want to know how this could happen.”
Flanagan said her son was dropped off at home, without anyone there to receive him.
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“He rides the bus after school to day care, not home,” Flanagan said.
Rock Hill school district spokesperson Mychal Frost said the rules and procedures were not followed Monday, and the district is investigating how it happened.
“We are looking at how the child was escorted to the wrong bus and dropped off at his home address rather than the day care where he is supposed to go,” Frost said.
Flanagan said she was at a dentist appointment Monday afternoon when the day care her son was supposed to be dropped off at called to say her son did not get off the school bus. Flanagan’s son attends half-day pre-kindergarten in the afternoon at Central Child Development Center, east of downtown Rock Hill.
“They could not tell me where my son was,” Flanagan said. “There were several police who were out looking for him. Scary? Yes, it was scary.”
Capt. Mark Bollinger, spokesman for the Rock Hill Police Department, said several patrol cars were dispatched.
A neighbor found the child safe at home, and no charges will be filed, Bollinger said.
Flanagan’s son attends day care in the morning, according to Flanagan and Rock Hill school officials. He normally is picked up from child care in the late morning by a school bus, transported to the child center on East Black Street for afternoon classes, then bussed back to the day care after school, according to Flanagan and Rock Hill school district officials.
The bus from the child center heads first to York Road Elementary School. Then, the child is transferred to a second bus for transportation to the day care, Frost said.
On Monday afternoon, the child was transferred to the wrong bus at York Road, Frost said. The bus corresponds with child’s home address, not the day care, Frost said.
An adult with the school district at York Road is supposed to make sure children transfer to the correct bus, Frost said. Bus drivers also are supposed to drop off students in second grade and younger at bus stops where waiting adults are there to receive the child, Frost said.
The bus driver who dropped the student at home was a substitute driver for the regular driver, Frost said.
The district is investigating to determine how the child was on the wrong bus and dropped off at the wrong stop, Frost said.
“The student was found safe at home, but he was not at the day care where he was supposed to be taken,” Frost said.
The school district transports about 8,000 students daily, Frost said.