NEW ORLEANS -- Imagine going to pick up your young child at school and being told the school had no idea where he was.
That’s what happened to Courtney Smith. Now she wants someone to be held responsible.
Last Wednesday Smith went to pick up her kids from Ella C. Pittman Elementary school like she's done every day this entire school year. That afternoon, 5-year-old Cy was nowhere to be found. Smith went to the Principal who Smith said oversaw bus duty that day.
"She said he got on a bus, which he doesn't ride a bus, and I didn't understand why was he on it?” Smith asked. “She assured me that my child would be safe and brought back to school."
However, that's not what happened. The 5-year-old ended up all alone, wandering along the West Bank Expressway after his bus driver let him get off the bus.
"He just dropped him off at the age of 5 to try to find out his own way home,” Smith said.
Joyce Morgan works at A Child’s World along the expressway. She noticed a child wandering across the busy highway.
"I'm looking like, ‘Ok where are his parents? There has to be a parent out there with him,” Morgan said.
Morgan spotted Cy and brought him into the daycare.
"He was crying, shaken up, scared," Morgan said. “He told me ‘I’m a car rider and she put me on a bus.’”
Cy was able to give Morgan his mom's phone number. Smith was still at the school trying to locate her son when Morgan called.
"She said I just want to let you know he's safe and he's here if you can come get him,” Smith said.
Smith is relieved the incident didn't turn into a tragedy.
"I'm just thankful I do still have him," Smith said.
Jefferson Parish Public Schools released the following statement:
"The safety of all our students is our top priority and we are grateful that no harm came to our student. We are currently investigating this incident and will take appropriate personnel action once the investigation is complete."
Smith wants to make sure this doesn't happen to another child, as she tries to come to terms with how it happened in the first place.
"This is elementary school,” Smith said. “They don't have time for mistakes."
The Jefferson Parish School Board has not given a timeline on when it will be finished with the investigation.
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