I found out about this this morning. After D left on the bus. So I went to school and asked in the office (and was told a couple of different things, I might add -- no one really understood what was happening). Anyway, by the time I left the office, school had begun. D's teacher wasn't overly thrilled with me interrupting, so I tried to make it quick and just said, "Bus change this afternoon -- C-13" and gave her the schedule.
Since D is 7 and was a little upset by the time we heard the story, we're not exactly sure what happened. But he claims his teacher (who's also brand new, I might add -- this is her first year of teaching) told him C-11. Anyway, he went off to find C-11, couldn't read any numbers, and finally asked. Once on C-11, he suspected something was wrong, but it was too late. When the driver got to the first stop, D knew it wasn't even his neighborhood -- and being D, decided he needed to rectify the situation...so he got off the bus.
Well, at our end, the bus comes and goes with no D. I call the school and discover (shockingly) that tons of kids got on the wrong bus, and the school is planning to figure out what to do next and call us back. Twenty+ minutes go by, no call. Finally, I call again. This time I'm told that D is the only student still unaccounted for -- and my blood froze.
He was 45 minutes late, at this point. I got my keys and was headed out to search the neighborhoods for him when we got a call from one of the teachers at the school -- a woman who also knew D because he was in K with her son. She saw him walking along the frontage road (not a calm, quiet road, I might add) and picked him up. Thank God, he knew her!!
She brought him home, and then I had to talk to people at school and officials at the bus depot. We're so relieved, of course, but poor guy! He thought it was his fault for getting on the wrong bus, and he was afraid to tell the bus driver. He thought he'd get in trouble. So, the good part of all this (beside him being safe) is that now he knows what to do if he gets on the wrong bus. And I definitely brought it up with the school -- they clearly haven't given enough instruction to the young kids about bus riding. I know our neighbor's twins got off at the wrong stop early last year, and it was the grace of God that they were able to find them.
So things worked out -- D is fine, though I suspect he'll sleep well tonight (he walked for a couple of miles before he got picked up -- including going in circles, he thinks, because he got lost). I wish I'd just gotten in my car the second I realized he wasn't on the bus...next time, I won't listen to the school, that's for sure! For all of you with younger kids riding buses, don't hesitate to remind them that they need to stay on the bus until the route is complete and then explain that their stop wasn't there. According to the woman from the district I spoke with, procedure is for the driver to either return them to school or even to take them to their front door.
(I think she was relieved I didn't say anything about legal action -- she definitely sounded like she was trying to placate me the entire time, even though, by then, I wasn't upset or anything. It was just a big, confusing mess!)