Colorado Springs mom says her son went missing at hands of school staff, district responds

KKTV 11 News at 4 (Recurring)
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 11:12 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A Colorado Springs mom says she had a scary situation on Monday, when her son did not get off the school bus at pick up time.

“When we got in the car to go home, he said ‘mommy I was scared,’” Parthenia Wallace says, explaining her son’s reaction to what was supposed to be his first day of summer school.

Wallace enrolled her six year old son in summer school with Harrison District Two. Monday was the first day of classes, and Wallace dropped her son off at Turman Elementary, where she says he is supposed to get on a bus and be taken to Wildflower Elementary for classes.

Come 9 a.m., the mother received a phone call from school staff saying her son was absent. She tells 11 News that shocked her, because she had dropped him off for the bus.

“I left and I went up to the school. When I got there, they said that they located him and he was fine,” Wallace said.

But-- come pick up time at 2:40 p.m., Wallace says her son did not get off the school bus, and no school staff had informed her of any issues at that point.

“At this time, I don’t know where my son is at. I can’t locate my son,” Wallace said, explaining what was going through her mind.

Harrison District Two sent a statement to 11 News, saying:

“We acknowledge that our first day of summer school transportation did not go as planned, and we apologize to our students and families for this experience. This morning, our district implemented additional transportation protocols and student identification processes for summer school. We are deeply sorry that any of our families had this experience, and we will ensure it does not reoccur.”

Christine O'Brien, Public Information Officer for Harrison School District Two

Per a phone call 11 News had with O’Brien, school leaders know how the mix up occurred with Wallace’s son. O’Brien explained, some students got on the wrong bus at the drop off point, Turman Elementary, and those students were taken to the wrong school. The bus driver picked those students up from the incorrect drop off point and got them to the right school-- except for Wallace’s son, he was left behind.

Wallace says, she pulled her son out of summer school because of the issue. She says, she wants to know how her son went unaccounted for the entire school day. She says it wasn’t until more than an hour after the school day had ended that a teacher who recognized her son called her to let her know he was at Carmel Community School, when he was supposed to be at Wildflower Elementary all day.

“I want to know what happened and how they were going to fix this so that it doesn’t happen again,” Wallace said. “There are some weird people out here in this world, and you might put somebody’s child in the wrong hands. I need to know how they are going to make sure that he is protected.”

Harrison District Two says it reached out to Wallace to talk about the issue, along with other parents who’s children were taken to the wrong school initially on Monday. O’Brien says they’ve improved a color coded wrist band system for students to ensure students get to the correct buildings.