Houma mother angry after 5-year-old son found walking home alone from school

Jade Cunningham talks to a mother whose son was allowed to walk home from school alone.

HOUMA, La. -- A mother is demanding answers after her five-year-old son was found trying to walk home, by himself, from school Monday.

“I usually can hear the bus come around the corner and I'll walk to the edge of our driveway," said Kathleen Hotard.

For almost two years, Hotard's son, Kenneth, has taken the school bus home. However, when the bus pulled up to its usual stop, Hotard said her wasn't on it.

"The driver opened the doors and my child was not on the bus," she said. "The driver informed me he was not there and that she didn't know where he was but that he had not gotten on the bus that day. You get this pit in your stomach because you don't know where your child is. You don't know if they're okay or if they're crying for you."

The five-year-old wanted to walk home. Why?

“Because every week they throw spitballs, and they land on my ear," he said.

So he told his substitute teacher his mother had written a note saying it was okay. However, that wasn't true.

“I was informed my child had lied and said he had a parental note to walk home," Hotard said. "I confirmed I never wrote a note, and they confirmed they never saw a note. He said he had misplaced it.”

Kenneth was found about a half mile from school after a someone saw him walking down the road alone. That person called Houma police and according to Hotard, they reported seeing the child. Not only was he alone and on a busy road, he was also walking home in the wrong direction.

We asked Kenneth if he got lost and he told us, "kind of."

Hotard tells Eyewitness News the school superintendent admitted to her what happened was wrong, and they'll investigate the incident. However, Hotard said that's not enough and wants more to be done.

"I don’t want any other parent to ever have to feel what I felt," she said. "I don’t want any other child to be on a side of a road by themselves scared.”

Hotard isn't happy her son lied but added the school is at fault as well. She said the staff should've verified there was a letter or called to confirm if it was okay for Kenneth to walk.

“I feel like accountability needs to be taken by the school, by the teachers, and by the school board," she said. "Things have to change.”
 

(© 2016 WWL)


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