MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A Nan Gray Davis Elementary School parent said her 5-year-old autistic son wandered onto a school bus and ended up at an apartment complex 2 and a half miles from the school where she was supposed to pick up the child.
The mother and her 5-year-old kindergartner were reunited safely Monday, September 9, but the incident raises a lot of questions.
No one seems to know what time the child disappeared from his classroom. Questions were raised such as: why didn't the bus driver notice the unfamiliar student and why was the child left unsupervised at an extended stay complex?
The mother believes the situation could have had a very different and even tragic ending.
Anja Louviere was reluctant to take her son back to Nan Gray Davis Elementary on Tuesday morning after what happened.
"That was the worst thing that has ever happened to me as a mother," Louviere said.
Louviere said her son wasn't in the carpool lane when she went to pick him up Monday afternoon. At first she thought he was inside the school.
"Well the next thing I know, I see his teacher come out with her hands up like I don't know. I ran up to her, and I said, ‘You don't know where my son is?’ She was like, ‘No, I don't know where he is.’ I said, ‘Well, don't you think someone needs to call 911?’ She was like, 'yeah'," Louviere said.
While police and teachers searched the campus, Louviere's son ended up here at the Spanish Oaks Inn which is 2 and a half miles from the school.
The manager of the extended stay complex saw the child walking around the parking lot. When she approached the boy, he said he wanted his mommy. Police showed up while the manager was trying to determine if the boy lived in the complex.
"We don't like what happened Renee," Nancy Pierce said.
Pierce, the Moble County Public School System spokesperson, said the child had gotten onto a school bus unnoticed. The driver let the kindergartner off at her last stop, which was the highway near the Southern Oaks Inn.
Pierce said, "They followed the rules, and the protocol that they have."
Renee: "Did they really? It doesn't sound like they did."
Pierce: "Sure they did. They walked the child, the children in the car line. They all walked in that line, the bus riders walked in their line. This child walked over to the bus line and got on a bus."
"He has autism so anything could have happened to him," Louviere said.
Louviere is worried it could happen again.
"My concern is that they need to have a better system on how they get children in the cars with their parents," she said.
"The principal, I've talked to her and she will review all the procedures for the teachers and see if they can collectively come up with anything else that they can do. Also all the bus drivers will go over their rules too," Pierce said.
The mother is not satisfied with those answers, but she is glad her child is safe.
"The school system seemed to place a lot of responsibility for what happened on the child who got on the bus. However, we're talking about a 5-year-old, and they don't always do what they're supposed to," Louviere said.
Louviere still believes someone should have done a better job of looking out for her little boy.
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