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Queen Creek parents outraged after daughter mistakenly placed on school bus

Posted at 6:17 PM, Aug 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 00:12:48-04

A Valley couple is demanding answers after they say their daughter was mistakenly placed on a school bus and dropped off roughly two miles from home. 

Christen and Thomas Rodriguez told ABC15 their daughter Vanessa, 5, mistakenly wound up on a school bus on Wednesday. 

They said when they went to pick her up from kindergarten at Desert Mountain Elementary School, she wasn't there. 

"I go 'hey, what's the next step here because my daughter's missing," said Thomas Rodriguez. "There was really no sense of urgency as to who to call."

The family says no one could locate their daughter for roughly half an hour. At that point, they say they heard another family found her in a neighborhood several miles away after getting off a bus. 

"I've been crying," said Christen Rodriguez. "I'm still crying over it."

The family says their daughter was found by other young kids, alone and roughly two miles from home. 

"You're definitely worried that she can end up hurt, it's 100+ degrees outside," Thomas said. 

The child's family told ABC15 they wonder how she wound up on a bus in the first place and are also frustrated with the school's response. 

"The school doesn't seem to, not that they don't care, but they don't seem to acknowledge they need to improve," Thomas Rodriguez said. 

The family wants the school to review their policies and protocols, but are glad Vanessa is home safe.  

"I felt so sad for her because I know she was scared," Christen Rodriguez said."She didn't know what to do or where to go."

The Queen Creek Unified School District declined ABC15's request for an interview. However, they did issue the following statement: 

"We are aware of this incident, and we take all claims involving student safety very seriously. In the last 24 hours, there has been frequent communication with the family. Multiple district administrators have spoken with the parents. As always, student safety is our top priority, and we will continue to make sure that all our students have a safe learning environment at our schools."