HOUSTON – After her first day of school, Olivia Reynolds’ parents anxiously waited for her at the corner of their block where the bus was supposed to drop her off.
However, when the bus arrived, there was just one problem. Olivia wasn’t on it.
The 6-year-old’s mother went searching for her baby and found her miles away, alone and shaken.
”We sent our daughter off to school [and] everything seemed to be fine,” said her father, Eric.
But when the 6-year-old didn’t come home from her first day at Anderson Academy, he says the bus driver uttered words that made his heart drop.
”[The bus driver] goes and checks every aisle just to make sure. He said ‘Yeah, your daughter did not get on the bus,’” Eric said.
He says his wife immediately scrambled to find her. ”She just so happened to see our 6-year-old daughter on the corner of Garden City Apartments,” he said.
It was two miles away from the bus stop where little Olivia should’ve been left.
”That zip code alone has over 3,300 sex offenders,” Eric added.
Olivia’s parents say she suffers from a condition where her body doesn’t produce the stress-relieving hormone.
”She cannot be left in stressful situations like that. So this has greatly impacted her. She’s traumatized,” the father said.
Eric says not only did the bus driver not check to make sure she was on the right bus, but her teacher failed to fill out a bus tag with information that could’ve prevented this from happening.
He says her distasteful response only made matters worse.
”When she came in, she was backed up in the corner, lying,” he said. “Finally, when she got backed up into the corner, she goes ‘Oh, well, I’m sorry.’”
But with Houston being a major hub for sex trafficking minors, Reynolds says sorry isn’t good enough.
Aldine Independent School District gave the following statement on the matter:
“Student safety is a priority for Aldine ISD. The District is aware of an incident involving an Anderson Academy first grader who was placed on the incorrect bus after school on Aug. 17 and subsequently dropped off at a wrong location. Thankfully, the student was safely reunited with her parents within 45 minutes. We deeply regret that this incident occurred, and have made adjustments to prevent its recurrence. The school has removed the teacher who placed the student on the incorrect bus from any further dismissal duties for the remainder of the school year and has taken appropriate administrative action at the campus level. The Transportation Department reviewed this incident with the bus driver and also took corrective action. In addition, the principal and district leaders have met with the parents to address their concerns directly. As with all school districts, the beginning of a new school year presents many challenges, including school dismissal and transportation logistics. Aldine ISD campuses and the Transportation Department will continue to work together so that our students are safe when traveling to and from school.”
Eric, who is pursuing legal action, feels Aldine ISD should fire everyone involved and equip students with tracking devices so this never happens again.