A second-grader was forced to walk two-and-a-half miles home from school instead of taking the bus last week, and the Spring Independent School District is calling it an "inexcusable mistake."
Damion Robinson's mother said she received a call from a woman who saw her son walking along I-45 last Tuesday. He was walking home from R. J. Hoyland Elementary.
"The first thing that was said was, 'Stop what you're doing. Someone's found Damion.' I was like, 'Found him what?' 'They found him walking along the side of 45,'" said Markendria Robinson, the boy's mother.
She added, "When we asked him, 'How did you make it all the way here?' he said, 'I looked both ways.'"
Robinson said the second-grader, who is suppose to ride the bus, was told by school staff that he was to walk home.
His mother said, "He told her, 'No, I'm a bus rider. I live too far.' She said, 'No, you're a walker, so you have to get in line.'"
Damion said several people tried picking him up along the way, but he refused the help. He said he was nearly hit when someone ran a stoplight.
"The light was red and the car had run through the light and then he was coming fast, so I ran across the street," he said.
A woman stopped him and asked for his mother's number. She called her as Damion neared his neighborhood.
His mother met with school administrators who told her that her son was misidentified as another student. That student's name was on the transportation change.
"My name's not on there. So, you didn't even bother to call the parent. So, your rules and procedures you have in place are not being followed," said Robinson.
Spring ISD acknowledged that an error was made in processing the transportation change. A spokesperson said the district immediately launched an investigation and is now reviewing and changing its transportation policy.
The Elementary Student and Parent Handbook said, "To insure students’ safety, transportation changes should be made only in case of emergencies. In order for a student to ride a different bus, change bus stops or use a different mode of transportation, he must have a note signed by his parent/guardian and approved by a school administrator. The note should be brought to the student’s teacher before school. It should have a telephone number and name of a parent who can be contacted to verify the note. The school will also accept a signed faxed note. The note is to be signed by the principal or his/her designee and given to the bus driver. For safety purposes, no transportation changes can be accepted over the phone. No changes can be accepted after 1:45 p.m."
Robinson said her son now rides the bus again. She wants to make sure this does not happen to other students.
"If it can happen at an elementary school, it can happen anywhere," she said.