JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A 10-year-old girl Duval County student doesn't want to ride the bus anymore.
The fifth grader was dropped off at the wrong stop in North Jacksonville. Her family said it took nearly an hour to find her. It's not the first time Kiara Clay's daughter rode the bus to and from school. She usually rode with her brothers, according to Clay. However, it was the first bus ride on her own.
On Friday, her experience going back home did not go as planned.
"My daughter will not be taking the bus 'till I feel like she's being dropped off at a safer location," Clay said.
The Jacksonville mother said her child stopped on Airport Road on North Jacksonville. The area includes busy streets and hotels. Clay said her daughter called her in a panic.
She claims the bus driver gave her child two options.
"Basically you can get off at this stop or I can take you back to the school [Biscayne Elementary]," Clay explained what she heard.
Her daughter got off the bus alone. It took nearly an hour for Clay to find her child. She managed to ping her cell phone location to a Quality Inn where she was waiting. To Clay, hearing her daughter cry on the phone was heartbreaking, because she wasn't there at that moment.
Instead of Duval and Airport, Clay said the stop was supposed to be Duval and Ranch. It's a 25-minute walk from where her daughter was initially dropped off.
DCPS confirmed the child was inadvertently dropped off at the wrong stop, but did not explain how the mistake happened. The school district sent First Coast News a statement:
"We have reviewed this and can confirm that unfortunately the student was inadvertently dropped off at the incorrect bus stop. We deeply apologize for this error, and the Transportation Team is working to personally follow up with the parent to apologize, discuss next steps, and address the parent's additional concerns regarding the location of their assigned bus stop. The Transportation Team was able to investigate this and be in contact with the parent as soon as they were made aware of this situation, and we encourage all families with questions and concerns to contact the Transportation Team at 904-858-6200 so they can work to problem solve."
Clay wants an explanation and her daughter's assigned bus stop changed.
She feels it's too dangerous, as there's no sidewalk for any child to walk on. Clay points to how the area has narrow roads and the path is too close to cars.
"This has to stop because I know I'm not the only parent experiencing nothing like this," Clay added.
First Coast News asked DCPS what is supposed to happen when a child says they are at the wrong stop. A spokesperson said they're waiting on additional information from the transportation team.
They said the response could take a while because leadership is working to resolve bus delays.