Mom, school system say 3-year-old left alone on school bus

Updated: Jun. 4, 2019 at 3:23 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A school bus driver picked up a preschooler Tuesday morning in Wilmington, but the 3-year-old didn’t make it to Johnson Pre-K Center on time.

According to Adreana Barnes’ mom, Tasheena, and a spokesperson for the New Hanover County School system, Adreana was left on the bus after the morning drop-off.

Tasheena said she brought her daughter and son to the bus stop Tuesday morning and the bus picked them up at 7 a.m.

Around 8 a.m., the school’s principal called Tasheena after Adreana’s teacher realized the little girl wasn’t in class.

Administrators called the transportation department and Adreana was found on the school bus at the bus garage. Tasheena said administrators told her Adreana fell asleep on the bus. They picked Adreana up and brought her to Johnson Pre-K where Tasheena picked her up. It wasn’t until after Adreana was brought back to the school that her mom was called, Tasheena said. Administrators later telling her they wanted to find her daughter as soon as possible.

“She was scared. She just kept saying, “ma, it was dark. It was dark. So, obviously she woke up and she was on the bus by herself,” Tasheena said. “I panicked. I didn’t know what to do because I knew that she was going to school and she was going to be safe there. Someone wasn’t doing their job.”

“It’s getting hot now and I know that it could’ve been a lot worse if they didn’t find her at a reasonable time. She was on there for at least an hour because they called me at 8 o’clock," she said.

According to Valita Quattlebaum, spokesperson for New Hanover County Schools, Adreana was brought to the school after she was found on the bus. Tasheena said she picked her daughter up from school when she got the call.

“The administration and staff at Johnson Pre-K are already working to prevent further occurrences of this kind," Quattlebaum said. "They will be reviewing processes and procedures around bus safety and some additional staff training will be required.

“In addition, we are working with our human resources division to determine if staff disciplinary actions will be needed once our investigation of the incident is complete. NHCS takes the safety of our students seriously and we apologize that this incident occurred.”

Tasheena said after Tuesday’s incident, she will drive Adreana, and her four other kids, to and from school for at least the rest of the school year.

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