Minor Community School mom says her kindergartener was mistakenly put on a bus and was missing for more than an hour

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 5:32 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 5:33 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - It was a frantic day for a mother of a kindergartener who tried to pick her daughter up from her second day of school but couldn’t find her!

To make matters worse, the mom said school leaders were stumped too!

It’s 3 p.m. on August 10, the second day of school.

Marquesha Whitley shows up to Minor Community School to pick up her kids.

Her nine-year-old son is there, but her five-year-old daughter, Le’Mari, is missing.

“My five-year-old, kindergarten child, whom this was her first day at this school…I’m sorry, second day at the school in the new environment was placed on the school bus,” Whitley said.

It took more than an hour to find out where she was and how she got there.

“The principal’s explanation to how it happened was that they tried to have a system in place where the teachers walk where they are to go for their destinations, but his explanation to me was that my child probably skipped into the bus line, and she was curious and wanted to ride the bus with one of her friends,” Whitley explained.

That’s different from the explanation Whitley says she got from her daughter’s teacher, who she says told her she walked Le’Mari to her daycare van.

“The daycare van was in front of me. I followed the daycare van, pulled the daycare over to ask if my child was on there. She was not. I then called the daycare to confirm that my child was not there. At that moment, I was devastated. I didn’t know what to do. The only think that I could do was pray that my child was safe,” Whitley said.

Normally, Le’Mari would take the van to day care, but this week is different, and Whitley said she made that clear in the transportation form she filled out.

It appears the school was aware.

When the bus with Le’Mari finally got back to campus, Le’Mari was still wearing a sticker clearly indicating she was a car rider.

“And when I tried to approach the principal and make him aware of my frustrations and how their system failed them, he simply dismissed me as if I were an animal by telling me that I was dismissed,” Whitley explained.

Whitley said this isn’t the first time something like this has happened with one of her children at Minor Community School.

She said she feels her hands are tied because this is the school her family is zoned to attend.

In a statement, Jefferson County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Walter Gonsoulin said,

“Our staff takes steps every day to ensure all our students leave their school and get to their final destinations safely. We certainly understand this family’s concerns. We have met with them and apologized for the error. Our district leadership also followed up today. We are very thankful that at no point was the student left alone or unsupervised and that she was unharmed. We will review this incident in hopes of preventing similar occurrences in the future.

Whitley said she hasn’t heard from her daughter’s principal since the incident.

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