INVESTIGATION: Student bused off school grounds without permission

Victoria Shackleford was taken off school grounds without permission from her mother.
Victoria Shackleford was taken off school grounds without permission from her mother.

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) – An investigation by the Bladen County School System shows that a third grader at Bladenboro Primary School left school grounds without permission from her own mother.

Krista Shackleford's daughter Victoria was recently put on a bus and taken to a special class off school grounds. Shackleford said she would have never known about the situation if it wasn't for her daughter opening up to her about her day at school and field trip.

"They had no knowledge of her going," said Shackleford when talking about the school's faculty and staff. "She wasn't on the list to go."

When Shackleford approached the county school board about the incident they called it a "mix-up" and promised they would get to the bottom of the situation.

According to a Bladen County Schools spokeswoman, Victoria, who is 8 years old and has autism, was put on a bus and taken to a class called "Release Time."

"Release Time" is in its third year with the school system and is a class that teaches character to students through biblical principles, according to the school system.

"They did some music and they talked about Jesus and she had fun which is fine, except one I didn't consent it, I didn't know about it and we're not Baptist."

The Shacklefords are Mormon, but Krista said she wasn't so upset about the religious aspect of the situation but by the fact that Victoria was never accounted for when leaving the school and arriving at the off-campus classroom.

A schools spokeswoman told WECT.com that roll call was taken before the students left the school but said it was never taken when they arrived at the off-campus building.

Shackleford said school is the last place a parent should have to worry about their child being unaccounted for and left behind.

"It ranges from terrified to downright furious because she wasn't on any list," she said. "She could have been anywhere and she could have wandered away."

The investigation is still ongoing, according to school officials. They said they are currently working on improving their roll call policies in response to this incident.

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