Local News

Only on WRAL: Wake mother endures scary morning after 5-year-old son with autism dropped off at wrong school

Posted September 21, 2021 10:00 p.m. EDT
Updated September 22, 2021 12:59 p.m. EDT

— A 5-year-old boy with autism was dropped off at the wrong school on Tuesday morning, leading the mother to experience every parent's nightmare of not knowing where their child is.

Britney Clark reached out to WRAL after the transportation company that takes her son to school dropped him off for the day at Conn Magnet School. The problem is 5-year-old Noah goes to Powell Elementary. Noah's teacher at Powell called Clark when he didn't show up, prompting her to panic.

Roughly an hour passed with Clark not knowing where Noah was.

"Anything could have happened to my kid," Clark said. "He has autism. He's a wanderer. He could have ran across the street, somebody could have came and picked my kid up. Anything could have happened."

The woman claims her son told the driver for D&D Transit that he didn't go to Conn. The driver dismissed Noah's words, telling him to get off the bus.

"I said this isn't my school," said Noah. "They said 'yes, this is.'"

Clark said she called D&D three times, wanting an explanation. She didn't hear back initially.

Noah rides with a harness and thus can't ride on a traditional school bus. The district uses D&D Transit to transport children with special needs.

"I feel they should have listened to him when he said he went to Powell Elementary that, that was his wrong school," Clark said.

Clark said the owner of D&D Transit eventually got up with her, saying Noah's name had the wrong school listed on a sheet of paper at the office, but the boy has a tag on his bookbag that shows exactly where he should be dropped off.

A manager with D&D Transit responded to the incident to WRAL News over the phone.

"The driver made an error in judgement and we are doing the necessary things to make sure that doesn't happen again." The manager also said, "in this industry, things happen."

After WRAL News reached out to the company, the mother said the owner apologized to her for the mishap.

But the apology wasn't enough for Clark.

"That's like a dagger to the heart pretty much," she said. "Like, things happen? It's my kid that we're talking about."

Clark says she's had problems with other transportation services for Noah before. After Tuesday, she's considering changing schools, so she can take him herself.

"I honestly have lost all confidence in the transportation system," Clark said.

WRAL News reached out to Wake County Public Schools for comment, but did not hear back.

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