A mother was furious to find her 5-year-old son walking home from school instead of on the bus -- because he wanted to get away from bullies.
“I usually can hear the bus come around the corner and I'll walk to the edge of our driveway,” Kathleen Hotard told WWL-TV. Kathleen said her son, Kenneth, has been taking the bus home for almost two years, and she’s always there to meet him at his stop. One day, however, he didn’t get off the bus.
“The driver opened the doors and my child was not on the bus,” she said. “The driver informed me he was not there and that she didn't know where he was but that he had not gotten on the bus that day. You get this pit in your stomach because you don't know where your child is. You don't know if they're okay or if they're crying for you."
Police found Kenneth on the side of the road about a quarter mile away from his school.
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“At the corner of this fence is where they found my child,” Kathleen told WDSU. “He had walked through the four-way intersection up there, passed that to here. There’s a bayou on this side and a bayou on that side and straight-on incoming traffic there."
Kenneth told WWL-TV exactly why he decided to lie to his teacher and say that his mother wrote a note allowing him to walk home.
“Because every week they throw spitballs, and they land on my ear,” he said. The boy said he “kind of” got lost on his way home.
Kathleen said that the superintendent admitted that what happened was wrong, and confirmed an investigation. For the terrified mother, however, it’s not enough.
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“I don’t want any other parent to ever have to feel what I felt,” she said. “I don’t want any other child to be on a side of a road by themselves scared.” While she admitted that it was wrong for her son to lie, she said she feels the school should have called her to confirm that there was a note.
“I feel like accountability needs to be taken by the school, by the teachers, and by the school board,” she said. “Things have to change.”