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Ackermann family
Heidi Ackermann walks her daughter, Lainee, and one of her son's back home from the school bus stop after the bus driver dropped Lainee off on October 11, 2017. (Photo: Basil John/WWAY)

HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — A bus driver drops a five year old child at the wrong school bus stop, nearly a mile from her home in Pender County. Her mom wants answers and feels like the school district isn’t doing enough.

Heidi Ackermann describes what it was like not knowing where her daughter was.

“She could be in a car, she could be on her way somewhere far away that I would never find her. Kids disappear all the time.,” Ackermann said.

Ackermann’s daughter, Lainee, is in kindergarten at Topsail Elementary. She says on September 1, the bus never dropped her daughter off at the stop. According to school policy, as a result, the bus driver will take the child to school.

“I stood and waited at that bus stop to see if maybe I could catch him on his way, on his return route, and I did and I stopped him. He was going really fast and I waived him down when I ran out into the road to talk to him. He told me he had no students left on the bus,” Ackermann said.

Turns out the bus driver of bus 173 dropped Lainee off almost one mile away from her home. Due to this, another student helped the kindergartner walk home. Ackermann says it was terrifying.

“That was the scariest day of my life. I don’t know if we’re going to wait for this to happen to somebody and it turns out very badly. This was  lucky situation. I don’t want to see this happen to anybody else,” Ackermann said.

Lainee says she is grateful for the student’s help. She says she wouldn’t have been able to find her way back home.

“I was really happy that he was there. There was no grown-up for me,” Lainee said.

The bus driver continues to drive Lainee home. Ackermann says she was informed the school took disciplinary action.

Pender County schools said, “Student safety is always our priority. Every day, families trust our yellow buses and our dedicated bus drivers to safely transport their children to and from school. We have conducted an internal investigation into this incident. A meeting was immediately held for all bus drivers at the school to review the incident and the importance of following district practice requiring a parent or guardian be present at the bus stop for children in grades K-2, unless they have an older sibling exiting the bus with them. The district is also re-emphasizing this practice with all bus drivers… Pender County Schools has taken appropriate personnel action as a result of this unfortunate incident.”


Comment on this Story

  • mike gerics

    my oldest daughter GOT OFF her bus a few stops early on her very first day of school…..because the older girl she was talking to got up and exited….and she followed.
    it was only a few blocks away and i got a call from her new friend’s parents…..and i went and picked her up.

    was that our chance at becoming a news story? it wasn’t scary.

    all these goofy accidental drops offs aren’t really news are they??????

    if there isn’t a kidnapping…..why put this in the news?

    • Trevelyn Britton

      The kid was five and didn’t know her way home…… yeah not dangerous at all.

  • Cindy Justice

    This happened with our kindergartner the second week of school. Also Topsail Elementary. But the year was 1990. The bus driver got to the end of the route, and our son was still on the bus. The driver asked why he didn’t speak up when she passed our house. His reply, “You told us not to yell on the bus.” Instead of bringing him home, she asked a mom waiting at the last stop if she knew my son. She didn’t, but still brought him home when the driver asked her to. I was frantic calling the school, and trying to get my newborn and 4 year old into the car to go search for their brother, when the lady drove up the driveway with him.

  • Sharron Brailford Cain

    Thank God she was safe. Praying it won’t happen again to No child.

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