A Kennewick woman is livid that a Kennewick school bus driver dropped off her 5-year-old son Wednesday at an elementary school instead of in front of his home as arranged.
The incident happened the second week of the new school year and on the heels of another busing complaint involving a Richland kindergartner left Aug. 30 at the wrong bus stop with a stranger.
Cindy Robinette, who lives at Lexington Street and Finley Road in Kennewick, said her son, Fabian Martinez, lives within the Eastgate Elementary School boundary but is being bused to Amistad Elementary because of overcrowding.
"I was waiting for him by the curb in front of my house at about 2:12 p.m. (Wednesday)," Robinette said. "The bus came by but it didn't stop. I got scared then and called the school. Nobody knew where he was."
The frantic mom then drove to Eastgate to see if he had been dropped off there accidentally but she didn't find him.
"I saw another parent and a couple of kids at the playground and asked if they'd seen a little boy," Robinette said. "They knew exactly who I was talking about because they asked me if he was wearing a red shirt and wore glasses and I said yes."
They told her that Fabian told them he was going home because he was hungry. Robinette found her son walking alone a few blocks from the school but almost to busy Highway 397.
"This situation (with Fabian Martinez) should not have happened and we certainly recognize how scary it must have been for the family," said Kennewick School District spokeswoman Lorraine Cooper.
"We are looking into how we can improve our procedures and communication both at the schools during boarding times and on the bus to make certain that something like this doesn't happen again," she said.
She said district officials are concerned about the safety of all students and diligently are working to accommodate all the kindergarten students who need to be bused to different schools because of overcrowding.
Shuttling kindergarten students to schools outside of their home school boundaries isn't the KSD's first choice, Cooper said.
But she added, "We recognize that we need to develop and implement additional precautions immediately."
In the meantime, Robinette said she plans to drive her son to and from Amistad until she feels the bus system can be relied on.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org