Cheryl Rodgers was at home on Tuesday afternoon when her 13-year-old daughter walked into the house and informed her that her little sister was still on the school bus and that the driver wanted to speak with her.
When Rodgers went outside, the bus had already driven off. "I look, and the bus is gone,” she said.
Fearing the worst, Rodgers hopped in her car to chase the bus and called 911. "I'm sure I was in a frenzy, but I told them, I said, 'I believe my daughter's just been kidnapped.' And that's really, honestly, how I felt."
A deputy stopped the bus two miles from the Rodgers home, well off of its route. The Sheriff's Office identified Jennifer Cornelia Foster, 50, as the driver.
"I'm not even sure where the bus was going, and why she was so far off-route," Rodgers said. Rodgers’ daughter and the other children on board were fine.
"You don't just take someone's child, and take 'em wherever you want,” Rodgers said. "It was just bizarre."
She said Foster was full of excuses.
"She just proceeded to tell one story after the next, and none of them made any sense," Rodgers said. "One was that she may have alluded to knowing me personally, like it was just mis-communication. One was, 'We were dropping her off at her grandmother's house,' and I said, 'My parents actually live with me.'"
Rodgers wants criminal charges filed against Foster. Although it’s unclear whether that will happen, the Rockdale County School System has suspended Foster while the incident is under investigation.
"It really makes you wonder," Rodgers said, "even if they're doing background checks on them, do they do them every six months? Or every year? What do we really know about these people that we entrust our children with?"
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