KATY, Texas (FOX 26) - A woman who recently moved to Katy Independent School District territory is speaking out about a scary first day on the school bus for her nine-year-old son who she says was missing for close to two hours after being dropped off at the wrong bus stop after school on Wednesday.
“I was walking this way to come and get him,” describes Erica Mouton, pointing at the bus stop in her subdivision.“The bus pulls up right here. All the other students were getting off. Didn’t see my son.”
Erica says she immediately contacted Morton Ranch Elementary School to track down where her son Dominic might be.
“They told me that if he’s still on the bus, the bus will make a second trip,” says Erica. “So I sat on the curb in front of my house and waited on the bus.”
When the bus did not swing back around, she says she called the Katy ISD bus service directly, which connected her with the bus driver.
“The bus driver was saying that he definitely got off right here, and I was telling her there’s no way when I was standing right here,” explains Erica. She drove through her new neighborhood anyway, looking for her son without luck. An hour passed with no word on where young Dominic was located.
“I was scared that he might have got kidnapped or anything,” adds Erica. “It was just really scary.”
Erica drove to the school and asked to see the bus camera footage to figure out where her son was dropped off.
“So come to find out, he got off a whole n'other neighborhood over, but you were 100 percent sure that he got off at his correct stop,” says Erica. She also says she went the neighborhood shown on the bus camera and drove down every street until she found her nine-year-old son wandering alone.
“He was tired,” says Erica. “He was walking for two hours.”
Erica says she wants answers from the school district about the process they use to ensure new students safely find their way home.
Meanwhile, she has advice for parents in similar situations.
“Just let your child know, 'Don’t get off the bus until you see me,' until they get familiar with the route,” says Erica. Her son was able to get off the bus at the correct stop on Thursday where Erica was waiting to greet him.
Katy ISD released the following statement on Thursday evening:
On Wednesday, March 7, we learned that one of our students was mistakenly dropped off after school by a bus driver one stop before the child’s assigned drop-off location. Katy ISD immediately worked with police and the parents to locate the child, who was returned unharmed to the family shortly thereafter. Student safety is our top priority at Katy ISD and we take this situation very seriously. The District’s Transportation Department has removed the bus driver from the route, and will take other action as deemed appropriate while continuing to review the details of the incident. We deeply regret that this situation occurred and will continue to work with the family to ensure that their concerns are resolved.