DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - A 7-year-old boy was ordered off a Broward County school bus at the wrong stop, causing the family to go into a panic to find the young boy, according to his mother.
Santiago Rodriguez, a second-grader at Fox Trail Elementary School in Davie, usually rides the bus with his older sister. However on Monday, his sister did not ride the bus, and when Santiago’s grandmother came to the bus stop to pick him up, the 7-year-old was not there.
“I wasn’t doing anything. I just forgot where I lived,” Santiago said.
“There was no bus at all,” Patricia Rodriguez, Santiago’s mother, said. “She saw all the kids coming, and she stopped the kids and asked, ‘Where is Santiago?’ That’s when she got worried. She got worried. She called me right away, so I called the school, and I waited for them to call me back because, at that moment, I was really worried. That’s when I panicked.”
Meanwhile, Santiago had been dropped off at the next stop, near Rexmere Village, almost 2 miles away.
“He told me that the driver told him to get off the bus,” Rodriguez said. “He said he told the driver, ‘No, this is not my stop,’ but he got off.”
“I just saw another complex, and all the houses were white, and mine is brown,” Santiago said. “I saw two girls. The other girl saw me walking here. She saw I didn’t know where I was going, and she said if I was lost, and I said, ‘Yes.'”
That girl’s grandmother called the school, and Santiago was reunited with his family. Rodriguez said she was told the policy is to take a child back to the school if they miss their stop, not to have them get off somewhere else.
“I called the Broward County transportation today. They said they would get back to me,” Rodriguez said. “I’m still waiting for the call, the school, too. What happened to us, I don’t want anybody else to go through. It’s horrible.”
Broward County Public Schools released a statement on the incident Tuesday afternoon that reads, in part, “Staff is in communication with the family and is also reviewing the details surrounding this situation, including obtaining video and conducting interviews, to determine exactly what happened.”
Rodriguez said a school administrator reached out to her late Tuesday afternoon while the investigation proceeds. She also said she is thankful for the 8-year-old girl who helped Santiago get back home and called the girl her hero.
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