Bus drops children off on wrong street

WEST DEPTFORD, N.J. - September 9, 2010

"For 45 minutes, I could not find my kids; I didn't know where they were," Cheryl McCormick told Action News Thursday.

Cheryl and her husband Patrick were frantic when their third grade twins Kyle and Kaitlyn didn't get off the school bus at their grandmother's house yesterday.

It's their first year at Green-Fields Elementary in West Deptford and they were to have been dropped off at Tatum Street near Lincoln Avenue; instead, they were left at Lincoln and Red Bank avenues.

There are two different Lincoln Avenues about a mile apart.

Cheryl recounted the conversation Kaitlyn had with the bus driver.

"And she said, 'These houses don't look familiar, can you drive down the street, so I can find my grandmom's house?' He said, 'No, we're not allowed to do that,' and there was an aide on the bus who said, 'You need to get off the bus now," Cheryl said.

"I was already crying then; I just got lost. I do not want that to happen again," Kaitlyn said.

Neither does School Superintendant Kevin Kitchenman.

He says within moments of receiving the call from the McCormicks, the district notified the bus company and driver and a call was made to the principal of a nearby school.

"I had conversations with the principal who then spoke with me, we then called another principal who was in the neighborhood where the children were dropped off, and he immediately drove to the street and found them there with the friend of the family who already had gotten there," Kitchenman said.

The buses are operated by H.A. DeHart & Sons, a West Deptford Company that transports 13,000 students a day in the area. The company deferred comment to the superintendant who says he called the McCormicks to apologize.

"The district is taking steps to make sure that this does not happen again," Kitchenman said.

It wasn't the way the McCormicks wanted the school year to begin and, at least for today, they drove their children to school.

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