WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) -Two teaching assistants have been suspended without pay after a three-year-old was dropped off at the wrong bus stop and left in the care of a stranger. The TA’s were on board the bus on Monday, Oct. 28 when they incorrectly released Londyn Brown to a woman not known to the girl’s family. The school system is now investigating the incident, according to board member Nelson Beaulieu.
The following is a statement from Crystal Buie, with the office of the superintendent:
“New Hanover County Schools regrets that a Johnson Pre-K student was incorrectly released on Monday afternoon. District officials are currently reviewing the incident to determine how it occurred. At this time, the two teacher assistants, who incorrectly released the student, have been suspended without pay pending a full investigation. NHCS provided student dismissal training in August 2019 for early childhood education staff. The district will review the appropriate protocol with all Pre-K staff members to prevent any future incidents from occurring.Up until recently, there were two students with the same first name of Londyn that were assigned the same bus route. This may have contributed to the incident, but in no way excuses the situation from occurring."
The girl’s mother, Shari Brown, has since filed a complaint with the superintendent’s office.
Shari Brown said she was late picking up Londyn at her bus stop, located at the Target shopping center on New Centre Drive. The mother assumed the bus driver would take her daughter back to Dorothy B. Johnson Pre-K, where Londyn has attended since August.
Shari’s brother, Anton Brown, offered to pick up Londyn at Dorothy B. Johnson Pre-K Center. When he arrived, Brown said he learned Londyn was actually dropped off at a bus stop in King’s Grant and was given an address to pick her up.
Shari Brown said she does not know the woman her three-year-old daughter went home with.
“I was thankful she was in a safe place but if she wasn’t, it definitely could’ve been an ugly situation," said Anton Brown.
The child rides bus 394, which Nance said has two TA’s on board who are responsible for making sure students get off at the correct bus stop and are picked up by a guardian already on a list.
“I mean and there’s a procedure, there’s two people on the bus with a clipboard. They check the name, they check who’s on the pick-up list, even check for ID’s if they’re not familiar with their face, so I don’t understand what happened yesterday,” said Shari Brown. “I felt like they didn’t care about her yesterday and they definitely weren’t doing their job.”
New Hanover County Schools spokeswoman Caress Clegg released the following statement Tuesday about the situation:
The school district’s transportation director said he could not comment on any disciplinary action against the bus driver.
Shari Brown said her daughter will no longer be riding the school bus and said Londyn was too afraid to go back to class on Tuesday. The child told her mother she was scared she might not make it home.