Harford Co. girl told to get off the school bus in a strange neighborhood
Cheryl Conner , WMAR Staff
6:01 PM, Dec 17, 2013
4:22 AM, Dec 18, 2013
EDGEWOOD, Md. - An 8-year-old Harford County girl was sent off of the bus at the wrong stop after a miscommunication between her mother and the school's administrators.
"I've always told my children, you don't get off a bus if you don't live there. And she said, 'I was scared to get a referral,'" said Nichole Edwards, Kayla's mom.
Edwards says she faxed a note to the school last Thursday explaining her daughter should take a different bus on Monday, not Friday. But a spokeswoman for Harford County Public Schools says Kayla's teacher and bus driver misread the note.
The driver allegedly told Kayla to get off the bus, in a strange neighborhood, despite protests from the William Paca Elementary third grader.
"She said she wasn't really mean, just pushy to get off of the bus. And she told her, I don't live here yet," Nichole said.
The bus driver dropped Kayla off at the beginning of the neighborhood. She walked over half a mile before Michael Forest spotted her alone and crying.
"When she put her head up against that mailbox, she just started balling. I asked her, 'are you okay?' And she said, 'no I'm lost,'" said Forest.
That crying girl was however able to remember her mom's cell phone number.
"It was my daughter on the other line, saying 'I'm lost mom.' And I said 'where are you?' And she says I don't know just tell me what's around and what do you see. And she said 'I don't know mommy, I just don't know where I am,'" said Edwards.
Then Kayla's mom learned a strange man brought his daughter into his house and let her use his phone. In the end, there's a big sigh of relief and a pile of questions.
"Pay attention. I don't know where she would have ended up. Just listen to kids when they say things," said Edwards.
Forest stay with the girl until authorities and her mother arrived.
"To me, I was just doing the right thing. That's all. It doesn't make you a hero, just a good person," Forest said.
Turned out, Kayla was across the street from the home where she will eventually move into.
A spokeswoman for Harford County Public Schools would not go on camera but through e-mail she said "In general, if a student is distraught or voicing concern regarding their location, the driver would contact the HCPS Transportation Department dispatch and the school. The student would be returned to the school."
Edwards hopes her story will close up the holes with how the situation was handled.