EAST ORANGE, N.J. (PIX11)-- The mother of an 11-year-old autistic boy says the school bus dropped him off at the wrong house, putting him in a very dangerous situation.
“He could have been taken, walked out into traffic, been hit, harmed, murdered, anything could have happened to him, “ says Kim Muse.
Her son, Kye, is a sixth grader at the Sojourner Truth Middle School in East Orange, New Jersey. On his first day taking the bus home, the driver and aide from the Camptown Bus Company took Kye to 58-56 Telford Street in Newark. But Kye lives at 56 Telford Street in East Orange.
“The bus taking me to the wrong address”, Kye told PIX11 Investigates.
He says when he told them it wasn’t his house, the driver and aide ignored him.
“Did they tell you to get off the bus?”, he was asked. “Yes, they were mistaken”, said Kye. Kye’s mother said, “Some people may be under the impression that just because he has autism, that he doesn’t understand or know what he’s talking about. But that’s just not true”.
Kye was left alone on the sidewalk outside the wrong address. “I’m feeling lonely and no one is coming out to rescue me”, said Kye, so he began walking.
It’s half a mile from the Newark address to his home, a walk Kye had never taken before. And it’s not a straight shot. If he’d turned the wrong way, he would have passed a home where a murder had recently occurred. Kye admits he was frightened, trying to find him way home. “I thought I never see my house, my mom, and my grandmothers and my whole family again”
“By the grace of God he got home”, says Kye’s grandmother, Barbara, who had been anxiously waiting for the bus to arrive. He said “ I walked Grandma. I’m sorry. I walked home. I said why would you walk home. He was drenched with sweat. “
PIX11 Investigates went to Camptown Bus Company’s headquarters in Newark. Owner Tom Zambola refused to comment or explain why the driver and aide apparently refused to believe Kye and insisted he get off the bus. Kye’s mother says the bus company told the school board it had done nothing wrong.
But mistakes were clearly made, she says. “From what I understand, there should be an adult there to meet the children once they get off the bus. They’re not supposed to let the children go on their own.”
Dr. Gloria Scott, Superintendent of the East Orange Board of Education, also refused to speak with PIX11 Investigates, issuing a terse “no comment”.
But after we got involved, she did reach out to Kye’s mother and apologized . However, Kye’s mother says Dr. Scott claimed to have no authority to take action against the Camptown Bus Company.
So she plans to attend the next school board meeting demanding to know why her 11 year old autistic son, despite his objections, was dropped off alone at the wrong house.