LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. - A mother claims the Lincoln County R-III School District lost her 4-year-old son after a day at summer school.
Hayden Smith was attending summer math camp Boone Elementary. At the end of his second day Hayden's mom says he was put on a bus while she was waiting for him in the parking lot. Hayden says he saw his mom waiting and told teachers about it, but was put on the bus anyway.
Shaina Smith says when she asked where her son was, school employees first said Hayden was on the bus on his way home. Then she was told he was on his way to a daycare. The story changed once more when she says she was told her son was on his way back to the school. Hayden ended up at another elementary school in the district, lost and confused.
Smith says she originally signed Hayden up for bus service, but told a teacher and the school office on the first day of summer school that her son was going to be picked up every day. She says the mistake is inexcusable.
"These are not just errors or mishaps, these are our children. And if they were to have another issue where a child were dropped off at a location other than their residence something more serious can happen," said Smith.
The district sent NewsChannel 5 this statement Friday:
Student safety is our top priority in the Lincoln County R-III School District. We currently have more than 2,500 students enrolled in our Summer Math Academy and more than 2,200 riding the bus daily. We are deeply concerned and currently investigating where and when the communication breakdown may have occurred.
During an initial review of the bus footage, we found our bus driver and R-III employees taking the very best care of the child in question while following district protocol. We are proud of their actions not only as employees of our district, but as caring individuals.
We will continue to investigate the matter to determine where the misstep may have occurred to ensure this type of confusion can be avoided in the future.
Despite the error, Hayden decided he wants to continue going to summer school. His parents have made signs for his backpack and even a bracelet that he wears to make it very clear he is not to be put on a bus again.