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Prince George's County Schools Responds: How Did A Bus Try and Drop Off Wrong Child At A Fort Washington Home?

10:25 PM, Jul 2, 2013   |    comments
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FORT WASHINGTON, Md. (WUSA9) -- On Monday, we told you about a Maryland mom who says she is afraid to put her special needs' child on a bus for the first time, because the bus company tried to drop off a different child to her Monday. 

Jennifer Sweetman of Fort Washington, MD says she needs answers and that's why she turned to WUSA9. 

7 ½ year old Jordan Sweetman has been home-schooled until now. Monday was supposed to be his first day riding a bus 20-plus miles to The Foundation School in Largo. But Jordan's mom Jennifer says he was sick, so she kept him home and called the bus company. 

Imagine her surprise when she says this happened. "The bus showed up in front of our house and there was a young child. The assistant brought him up and says 'here you go!' I said 'this is not my child, he does not belong here,' and she said 'well, we're here to drop off your son.'" 

Now, Sweetman doesn't trust that her son will be dropped off at the right house when he does start riding the bus. She says Jordan has special needs, and Prince George's County referred him to the Foundation School. 

Sweetman says she called everyone involved and is getting nowhere, "I don't know what we're going to do."

I called the Foundation School Monday night and Tuesday morning. 

On Tuesday morning, they told me to call Prince George's County Public Schools Transportation. I called three times: left a message, held for 15 minutes, and on the last call, I was referred to Max Pugh, Communications Officer. 

He emailed me this statement Tuesday afternoon:
"Yesterday marked the first day of our Extended School Year (ESY) special education program at 28 Prince George's County Public Schools sites. Including ESY, we are transporting 6,000 students to and from summer programs. ESY students often have variable summer program schedules, which means they are not on the bus every day. In response to the story on WUSA, the bus driver stopped at the location in question, but the child was not on the bus that day. At no point did any child get off the bus or was left unattended. Since the ESY program has small numbers of students on each bus, we have reiterated to all bus drivers the importance of verifying the identity of all students prior to dropping them off at a stop."

But Sweetman says the child did get off the bus, and the aide walked him up to her doorstep. I asked Sweetman if the school system's response increased her confidence in their ability. Her response, "I have no idea how they could verify given the list that I saw yesterday that the right child was going to the right location."

Sweetman also says Pugh is wrong and the child did get off the bus. 

It's that conflicting information and bus manifest that's killing her confidence in the county. 

We posed her questions to Pugh but didn't hear back. We'll keep on it. In the meantime, if you have a problem or an issue, tweet me at @DebraAlfarone or email me a dalfarone@wusa9.com and I'll try and get you answers.

 

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