HARRISONBURG, Va –- A 4-year-old girl was supposed to be dropped off at the Boys and Girls Club on Monday after her first day of school. Instead, she was dropped off alone at her house and was later found wandering around the neighborhood on Kelley St.
A few neighbors on Kelley St. said the bus driver should not let the child off, if an adult is not around. Luckily, a neighbor was there to help 4-year-old Dalea.
Griffin Strother lives next door to the family, so he saw Dalea when she was dropped off at the wrong stop after school.
"I was out here in the yard talking to my daughter and the little girl was walking by and she wanted me to try to get her in her house,” said Strother. “I asked her where her parents were and she didn't know where her parents were, so she stayed over here with me and happily her grandmother came and picked her up."
Dalea's mother said she had arranged for Dalea to get dropped off at the Boys and Girls Club before school had even started. Then, she said, on the first day of school, she went to the school and ensured Dalea would go to the Boys and Girls Club. That is because no one would have been home at the time Dalea got off the bus.
Dr. Scott Kizner, the superintendent of Harrisonburg City Schools, said the family called to make the change in the bus stop that same day. He said parents should try to call in at least 24-hours in advance to make sure everything is taken care of.
Dalea's father, Tyrone Welch, said he was thankful a good neighbor was able to help.
"I'm just happy that ain't nothing else happen to her," said Welch.
He said the schools should have a better system to make sure the bus driver drops kids off at the right place.
Dr. Kizner said they are looking into their procedures now.
"One incident is one too many, but I want to put things into perspective and not necessarily change procedures and policies for an unfortunate incident that happened on the first day of school," said Dr. Kizner.
Neighbors, like Strother, said this kind of thing should not happen again.
"I just think they should take more care of the kid and make sure they get to their destination. The girl is young. She was confused, so I was kind of shooken up," said Strother.
Dr. Kizner also said Harrisonburg schools transport about 4,000 children a day and he said the schools will now be extra careful when dealing with bus stop changes.
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