HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A Hampton grandmother is looking for answers after she says her 4-year-old granddaughter was left alone a mile away from home.
Adriana is a preschooler at Hunter B. Andrews PreK-8 School. Her grandmother, Claddie “Gigi” Cattenhead, says her grandaughter’s bus showed up at her stop, but Adriana did not.
“My oldest daughter went to go pick up Adriana off the bus. She called me and said, ‘Mommy, Adriana’s not on the bus. “I said, ‘Well… where is she?’ and she said ‘Mommy, I don’t know but she’s not on the bus,'” she said.
When a good Samaritan found the 4-year-old on LaSalle Avenue, Adriana was wearing her address on a tag attached to her backpack. “I’m looking for my Gigi,” she told the good Samaritan. The woman brought Adriana home to a panicked Cattenhead.
“As much stuff is going on- – as far as the kids, and being kidnapped, and stuff like that — I just thought my grandaughter was doomed,” said Cattenhead.
She reached out to Hampton City Public Schools and 10 On Your Side to help get some answers to how this happened.
Cattenhead tells WAVY News the school informed her the bus driver had been reprimanded, but could not tell her how.
In a response to a reporter’s email, an HCPS spokeswoman said in part, they “cannot discuss individual personnel matters, actions could include but are not limited to leave without pay, additional training, and/or termination.”
However, the spokeswoman did say an investigation revealed HCS procedures and protocols were not followed. She added that “appropriate actions” had been taken.
“We take very seriously the safety of our students from the time they board a school bus and arrive at school in the morning until they are safely transported home in the afternoon,” the spokeswoman said.
After recalling her family’s emotional reunion, Cattenhead said her grandaughter and other grandchildren won’t be riding the bus again anytime soon.
“I just grabbed my granddaughter. I embraced her. I hugged her. I kissed her. She said ‘Are you gonna pick me up next time?’ I said ‘Baby, there won’t be a next time. You are not getting on that bus period.’ They just don’t have my trust anymore,” Cattenhead said.
The grandmother says the school system has lost her trust, but there is a way to start getting it back.
“It’s so many rules that have been broken,” Cattenhead explained. “Termination should have been in order. If it happens to another child they could be let into the hands of the world again and then that child may not come home.”
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