Ingrid Johnson said her son's first day of kindergarten at West Woodland Elementary School Monday began with smiles but ended in tears and a frantic search for the 5-year-old who was dropped off at a school bus stop alone near Aurora Avenue when he should have been taken to an after-school program.
"I met him in his classroom, he was ushered out by a woman dragging six children with a big sign that said bus on it," said Johnson. "I didn't think anything of it -- watched him go on this bus."
Johnson said she then drove to the Boys and Girls Club in Ballard to see her son arrive for the first day of his after-school program.
"They said he wasn't on our van," said Johnson, who called police. "It'd been about 40 minutes, so we called back to the school and that was when they informed me that they had put him on the bus and he had been dropped off right here."
Rex had been dropped off at his assigned bus stop alone a few blocks from Aurora Avenue near Green Lake.
Johnson said he's supposed to be picked up from that bus stop, but never dropped off there. She said his father lives nearby, so the 5-year-old crossed a side street and walked until he found his dad's home.
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"It was absolutely horrifying -- I don't wish this on anyone, ever," said Johnson. "I was hysterical."
Johnson said her sister found Rex outside his dad's house alone nearly an hour later while searching the neighborhood. She said she met with the school's principal Tuesday and did not put her kid on the bus or after-school van.
"I wanted accountability as far as the people that were involved and the mistakes that were made. Instead, we got a lot of vague answers about process," said Johnson. "It doesn't really give you a lot of confidence in the system; you want to find out who screwed up, how they screwed up, what was done to fix it and the actions taken."
A spokesperson for Seattle Public Schools said, "We are sorry for the mix up," and told KIRO 7 the principal apologized to the family.
The school district released later released this statement to KIRO 7:
"Student safety is our top priority. We are relieved that our student is safe and understand how stressful this situation was for the parent and child. In this incident the student was registered for both the bus (the one he got on) and the Boys and Girls club van. His mother was present as he boarded the bus. The Boys and Girls club communicates transportation processes directly with families, including a description of the van. The parent, apparently, was unaware that the student was supposed to use the Boys and Girls Club van. The school staff are in conversation with the club about improved communication when club registered students are not present and accounted for. School staff worked directly with parent to locate the child, who was dropped off at his assigned bus stop."
"They sent the teachers here for him, but they were sitting here by themselves, not taking any action," said Johnson. "It was pretty shocking for (Rex)."
We reached out to the Boys and Girls Club late Tuesday after receiving the Seattle Public Schools statement but did not immediately hear back.
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