The San Diego Unified School District is investigating two incidents in which students, a 5- and 6-year-old, were dropped off at the wrong bus stop after school.
Parents of both children say they have yet to hear an explanation of the mishap from the district and both children are still dealing with emotional trauma from being left alone in unfamiliar places.
Corwin Hamilton’s daughter, Ivy, and Chelies Turner’s son, Jake, both go to Longfellow Spanish Immersion Elementary School in Bay Park.
Jake’s bus was supposed to drop him off at Horace Mann Middle School in El Cerrito but he was taken to Edison Elementary School in City Heights, about 10 minutes away in normal traffic, his parents told NBC 7.
Ivy’s route was supposed to end at Boone Elementary School in Bay Terraces but she was instead dropped off 20 minutes away at Emerson-Bandini Elementary School in Southcrest.
“Horror. It was Horror. Any parent’s going to think the worst,” Turner said. “The first thing I was thinking was if somebody snatched him or if he got hit, or anything. Everything bad."
Hamilton said it took him nearly an hour fighting through afternoon traffic to get to his first-grader.
“Running through red lights and your heart is beating so fast wondering where your only child is and if she’s safe,” he said.
When Hamilton finally got to Ivy, she was in tears holding the hand of a stranger.
“One lady came up and said, ‘Are you alone?’ and I said yes,” Ivy said.
That kind stranger waited with her until her dad got to the campus. Hamilton only knew where to go because Ivy, at just 6 years old, has a cell phone.
“Better safe than sorry,” he said.
Turner says Jake, a 5-year-old kindergarten student at Longfellow, was traumatized by what happened.
“He was distraught,” she said. “He was shaking, crying. He wouldn’t let me go.”
Jake is still having issues with separation from his parents, and Turner said her son wakes up in the middle of the night and comes into her room for comfort. She said she’s been in contact with his teacher since the incident checking to see if there have been any changes in his behavior at school.
The district said it is investigating both incidents and said whoever is found to be responsible will be held accountable, but Hamilton and Turner said the district isn’t being transparent.
Hamilton said he still hasn’t heard anything from the SDUSD, including an explanation of how this all happened. Neither he or Turner feel comfortable letting their children take the bus.
“I don’t trust them to transport my kid back and forth to school,” Turner said. “I don’t know what else to do other than take my son off the bus.”
Both parents filed complaints with the school. Hamilton says he went a step further and filed a complaint with the district and is considering legal action.