School mix-up leaves metro first grader outside empty home

RAYTOWN, Mo. - A girl, 6, was found wandering in a Raytown neighborhood Monday afternoon. The first grader was supposed to be at her LINC after school program at Dobbs Elementary, but was accidentally sent her to an empty home.

"It was sheer panic. I was at work and raced all the way here, I was bawling," her mother, who asked that she not be identified, said.

It happened on the first day of school for the Hickman Mills School District.

"You think about how terrified a 6-year-old is to walk in their house and not have anyone be there and not have a phone or any way to call," her mother said.

A neighbor spotted the girl about an hour later wandering the neighborhood with her dog. Her mom says she spent Monday trying to contact the school and the Apple Bus Company. She finally got through to someone Tuesday.

"She said it was probably my 6-year-old's fault, because she may have told the teacher that she was supposed to ride the bus."

Other Hickman Mills parents wondered if the bus driver bared some responsibility.

"That is crazy they would even drop off a kid, not see if they are okay and just keep on going," Brandon McDaniel said.

Apple's Pam Caskey said its policy only required parents of Kindergarten and Pre-K students to be waiting at the bus stop. Caskey said the same thing happened to another Hickman Mills second grader Monday. FOX 4 reported on the story of a Hickman Mills after-school bus mix-up last year involving a 5-year-old.

"Someone needs to do something other than just saying, 'Oh, oops, sorry, we won`t let it happen again,' when clearly it is still happening. So many things could`ve happened, it`s just terrifying," the 6-year-old's mother said.

Hickman Mills' Ruth Terrell sent FOX 4 the following statement.

“The HMC-1 SD first priority is to maintain the safety of ALL students. We expect to have transportation issues during the first couple of weeks of school and work diligently to rectify any possible mishaps before they even occur. Unfortunately, on yesterday a student was delivered home and was later discovered that the student was enrolled in our afterschool program LINC. Once this information was brought to our attention, we immediately began communications with the parent and are thankful that the child was received by a caring neighbor minutes after the child was dropped off. It is unfortunate that this occurred with one of our students and worked with the parent of the student this morning to make sure this does not happen again.”