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Oak Ridge six-year-old asked to walk home alone after bus driver missed stop

Jimmye Chapman said her first-grade daughter was asked to walk a half mile to her home after the bus driver missed her stop.
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 10:36 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - When the bus picks children up from school, parents expect drivers to return them home safely and without any issues. For Oak Ridge’s Jimmye Chapman, that didn’t happen over the past week.

Chapman has twin six-year-olds that both go to Glenwood Elementary School. On Friday, Sam and Seeley were on the bus when they missed their stop next to their East Drive home.

Chapman noticed the bus go by and ran it down just a stop sign later. Days later, the same thing would happen except the bus did not stop.

On Wednesday, Seeley was on the bus without her brother who was home for the day. As the bus drove past her home, Seeley made her way to the front and informed the driver.

“She told the bus driver she had missed her stop. The bus driver then asked what grade she was in,” said Chapman. “My daughter responded she was in the first grade and the driver said, ‘Can you walk home from here?’”

According to Chapman, Seeley isn’t the kind of kid to say no to an adult, so she answered yes and got off the bus approximately a half mile away from her home.

As the first-grader walked home afraid and crying, a woman walking her dog noticed her and offered to help her walk home. Chapman called this woman a ‘guardian angel’ for her act of kindness.

Although unharmed, Chapman said she continues to think of all the possibilities that something could’ve gone wrong while Seeley was walking by herself.

”My child could have been killed yesterday, my child could have been abducted yesterday,” said Chapman.

After researching the area, WVLT News found that 10 people on the sex offender registry live within a mile radius from her home.

In response, Oak Ridge Schools released a statement that said they would implement steps to ensure the mistake would not happen again.

“A monitor will be riding the bus to provide the driver additional training and support. We have emphasized with all drivers that students are not to be required to walk an additional distance due to a driver missing a stop. The driver is expected to circle back and drop the student off at the assigned bus stop. The driver involved in this incident will be required to document all students leaving the bus. This requirement will assure that this mistake isn’t repeated,” Oak Ridge Schools’ statement said.

The full statement can be read here:

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