LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The first day of school got off to a rocky start for one family in Lynchburg. The father of a kindergartner, Joseph Coley, says for almost an hour, he and his wife had no idea where their daughter was – after she left her school on a school bus.
That kindergartner, Emmy, was found later on the wrong bus according to her father. This incident comes just a few weeks after the district announced a new bus tracking app that is meant to keep parents in the know about where their child is.
However, Coley says his family has this app, and it did not help. In fact, he learned Emmy’s bus was not even trackable on the app. He adds that for his middle school son, the app does not have the correct bus information either.
He shared he and his wife first got concerned when his daughter’s bus didn’t get home on time, and then they were terrified when the bus got there, and Emmy wasn’t on it.
Coley says his wife reached out to Lynchburg City Schools (LCS) when’s their daughter’s bus was late. He says LCS assured them the buses were just running a little behind. When Emmy didn’t get off the bus at her stop, the Coley’s began frantically calling the school trying to locate their daughter.
Joseph Coley says the school told him Emmy had gotten on the wrong bus and could either still be on that bus, or possibly have gotten off at one of the stops in the Rivermont area, which is in the complete opposite direction from their home.
Coley notified the police and they were ready to set up staging areas and had drones prepared in case they weren’t able to locate Emmy.
Luckily, they were able to find Emmy, who was still on the bus and had not gotten off. They brought her back to the school safely where her parents picked her up, but Coley says this is not something he is taking lightly.
“They were like well first off we just want to apologize, it was just a little mistake. And I was like, you lost my child, my language was a lot more colorful than that, but this wasn’t a little mistake, you lost my child,” said Coley.
In a statement sent to WFXR from LCS in response to the incident, the school said “As a typical start of any school year, there were a few challenges with transportation, but we will continue to adjust and make improvements throughout the rest of this first week of school” adding that it may take a few days for the “Ride 360” bus tracking app to be fully functional.
Coley shared that luckily, Emmy did not seem scared when they found her. Adding that although they were relieved to have her found safe… he says something needs to be done.