Parent demanding answers after allegations of child being left on school bus

Parent demanding answers after allegations of child being left on school bus

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -A mom is demanding answers from the Dougherty County School System.

She said her daughter didn’t get off the bus as scheduled.

She’s angry because she said the school system never contacted her.

WALB News 10′s Asia Wilson investigates what took place and the next steps in this case.

The mother said when her daughter did not get off the school bus on Friday at her usual time, she immediately thought the worst. Wondering if she was safe or alive.

“At that point I got scared. I got upset. And a lot of emotions were taking over because they didn’t know where my kid was,” said ” said Jamekia Barnes, a concerned parent.

A mom is demanding answers from Dougherty County School System. She says her daughter didn't get off the bus as scheduled.
A mom is demanding answers from Dougherty County School System. She says her daughter didn't get off the bus as scheduled. (Source: WALB)

Jamekia Barnes said she went to her six-year-old daughter’s after-school daycare and found out her child as not there.

“I didn’t even know if she had been on the bus or made it to the bus,” said Barnes.

She then called Dougherty County School's transportation and Lincoln Elementary to find out what happened.

They told her this.

“They were trying to find and locate my daughter at the moment and that they would let me know as soon as possible when they would pretty much know where she is,” said Barnes.

Dougherty County School officials said Barnes’ daughter fell asleep on the bus and was asleep during her stop.

“The bus driver at the next stop called to let transportation know that she had missed her stop and that she would take her back to daycare which is her stop at the end of her route,” said Superintendent Kenneth Dyer for the Dougherty County School System.

Superintendent Kenneth Dyer says all bus drivers do pre-checks before they take off and afterwards.
Superintendent Kenneth Dyer says all bus drivers do pre-checks before they take off and afterwards. (Source: WALB)

Dyer said this was captured on six surveillance cameras. He adds the driver followed proper protocol, but this mom is not buying it.

“If she was just left on the bus and she did do her protocol, why wasn’t I contacted?” said Barnes.

That same day, her daughter was treated at Phoebe for heat exhaustion. She showed me the medical documents.

“They told me and diagnosed her with heat exhaustion and muscle cramps,” said Barnes.

A surprise to school leaders as her child's bus has air conditioning.

“I’m not saying there was not some issue when the mother took her to the emergency room, but I am saying those conditions were not a result of her being left on a hot bus because that didn’t happen,” said Superintendent Dyer.

He said there could’ve been a lapse of communication between parties and he now he plans to call Barnes to explain it all.

“I’m going to circle back around with the parent when I can reach her on the phone to find out who she talked to and what they told her,” said Superintendent Dyer.

Barnes hopes this happens very soon.

“I just want them to do better this year. Just do better,” said Barnes.

Dougherty County School officials said they do have bus tracking apps for your phones, like VersaTrans.

They are encouraging people to download that app as it can show you exactly where your student is on their bus route.

Steps taken for bus checks

Dougherty County School System leaders said they take the safety of all students very seriously.

Superintendent Kenneth Dyer said all bus drivers do pre-checks before they take off and afterward.

He said as the school year goes on, drivers become very familiar with each student and their stops on all routes.

Even keeping a headcount of each child for their safety.

“Our first priority is the safety and security of our students. From the time we pick them up to the time, we take them back home. That’s on the bus, at the school, any field trips we may have. It’s always safety and security first,” said Superintendent Dyer.

The superintendent also said it’s important for folks to know all buses are air-conditioned.

If the bus get’s a little warm, he said it’s due to the doors opening at each stop.

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