Deer Valley Unified to review procedures after school bus mix-up with special needs boy

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A special needs boy was left and confusion on where he was left a Valley mother worried. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A special needs boy was left and confusion on where he was left a Valley mother worried. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Ashley Adams said she initially became concerned after the boy’s school bus drove by her home without stopping around 12:25 p.m. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ashley Adams said she initially became concerned after the boy’s school bus drove by her home without stopping around 12:25 p.m. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Spokeswoman Monica Allread said the district is reviewing its procedures following the mix-up. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Spokeswoman Monica Allread said the district is reviewing its procedures following the mix-up. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The district said the boy was with an adult at all times. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The district said the boy was with an adult at all times. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Deer Valley Unified School District said it would review its procedures after a mix-up on a school bus involving a 4-year-old boy with special needs.

Confusion over the boy’s whereabouts prompted Ashley Adams to call 911 and report her son missing Wednesday afternoon. Officers began responding to Esperanza Elementary School, but police logs show the boy was found safe a few minutes later.

Adams said she initially became concerned after the boy’s school bus drove by her home without stopping around 12:25 p.m. She immediately called the transportation hotline, where she said an employee informed her that the boy was never at school in the first place.

“She said, ‘No, your son wasn't on the bus. He was absent today,’” Adams said.

Adams called the school next, where she said another employee informed her that the boy was indeed at school and escorted onto his normal bus home. 

“So now you're telling me that he was put on the bus, and they're telling me he's not on the bus, so that's when the panic set in,” she said.

Adams and her mother called 911 at 12:51 p.m. The boy was found safe at 12:56 p.m., according to police logs. He had been on the bus, lying down as it continued making stops.

When dispatchers radioed the driver, the boy heard his name and sat up, said district spokeswoman Monica Allread.

The bus driver quickly brought the boy home, dropping the child off about 30 minutes late, she said.

“We feel badly [sic] that the mother was worried and that there was some confusion, but I do want to state that the child was always safe and always with adults,” Allread said. “We transport 8,000 students every day and this type of confusion is rare, but still it's cause to review our procedures and make sure that this type of confusion doesn't happen again in the future.”

Allread said the district does use a sign-in procedure for preschool children when they board buses but said the aidr who assisted with the procedure and rode with the children Wednesday was a substitute.

“She doesn't know the faces and names, so when the bus driver drove past that stop, she didn't realize she had seen the child get on that day,” Allread said.

Both Allread and Adams said the bus driver apologized profusely for the incident.

“I need them to fix this going forward, so it doesn't happen -- not only to my kids -- but other kids,” Adams said. “They need to count them when they're getting on and getting off, both from the school and also at houses.”

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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