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Special Needs Child Taken to Wrong School, Mistaken for Another Child

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Quentin was taken on a wild goose chase to the wrong school and the wrong home.
RALEIGH — Imagine how you'd feel if your child waspicked up and transported to the wrong school-- then, hours later, takento the wrong neighborhood and dropped off. That's what happened to a WakeCounty exceptional education student.

It wasn't just a transportation mix-up, the school systemactually thought he was a different child for an entire school day.

Nine-year-old Quentin Butler is autistic, so he's not totally aware ofjust what went wrong Monday, but a lot did go wrong. It all started whenAssociated Cab, a service contracted to Wake County schools, pickedQuentin up at home for his first day of school.

Butler is enrolled at Millbrook Elementary, but the school system andhis mother don't agree as to where the associated cab driver was told totake him.

Wyatt Harper, transportation director for Wake County schools, saysthe family told the cab to take the child to North Ridge Elementary.

Lisa Butler, Quentin's mother, says she told the driver to go toMillbrook.

What happened next was a succession of errors. In spite of the warning,the driver took Quentin to North Ridge Elementary-- the wrong school. Ina special education class, Quentin was mistaken by the teacher'sassistant and the teacher for another student who was absent.

Ann Hooker, area assistant superintendent, says it was an assumption.

Quentin spent the entire day at North Ridge. When it was time to gohome, a new driver from a different cab company picked him up and headed17 miles in the wrong direction. Instead of going home to the Crabtreearea, Quentin was taken to Wake Forest, the other child's home.

Butler, alarmed that her son was not home by 5 p.m., called AssociatedCab and learned for the first time that he had been taken to the wrongschool. A cab company spokesperson told her they had know idea where theboy was.

Butler says she thought Quentin had been kidnapped. Meanwhile, therewas no one home at the Allen Street home where Quentin was taken, so theLucas Cab driver left the boy in Wake Forest with his boss's relatives,where he remained until 7 p.m. That's when the schools and cab companiesdetermined what had happened. Associated Cab then picked Quentin up inWake Forest and took him home at 9 p.m.

Butler says she knows her son has to be transported to and from school,but feels as if she doesn't want to trust them any more.

Photographer:Robert Meikle

andKerrie Hudzinski

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