Student with special needs left alone at wrong bus stop - WSMV Channel 4

Student with special needs left alone at wrong bus stop

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McMINNVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

One Middle Tennessee mother had the scare of her life after learning her son, who has special needs, was dropped off all alone at the wrong bus stop. And it's not the first time this has happened.

"How could they just let him off when there's nobody there? Especially when there's always someone there for him," said the boy's mother, Shala Wohlgemuth.

Thirteen-year-old Gavin was dropped off at the wrong bus stop last Thursday in Warren County. He has Down syndrome and problems communicating, so he cannot be unsupervised.

However, that day, he spent about 45 minutes alone in near-freezing temperatures.

"There's anything he could have gotten into. There's tractors, cars and trucks. There's cows. There are any number of things that could have happened, and nobody would have looked for him there, because that wasn't where he was supposed to have gone," Wohlgemuth said.

Gavin is usually dropped off at his grandfather's house, but Thursday his grandfather was hospitalized, so his parents made sure the school and bus service knew he needed to be let off at a secondary location. But, the message was not relayed to the right person, and Gavin was let off at his grandparents' home even though no one was there.

"If I had done that, where would I be?" Wohlgemuth asked.

The company in charge of operating Warren County school buses told Channel 4 News new procedures have been put in place to keep anything like this from happening again.

From here on out, Gavin will only be picked up and dropped off at his mom's workplace, and each time he will not be let off until the bus driver knows a family member is there to get him.

That's still not enough for this mom, who would like to know more is being done to protect other children like Gavin.

"To feel like there's actually a concern, not just the number of kids we get to school and back every day. These are our kids. It's not just a job," Wohlgemuth said.

The Warren County director of schools said a 6- and 7-year-old were also recently dropped off at their wrong bus stop, but in that case, the children were able to wave down the driver before the bus drove away.

The company that runs the buses for the county, Durham School Services, says the bus monitor who was on Gavin's bus Thursday was fired because of what happened.

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