Kindergartener boards wrong bus, hoodwinks school staff

March 14, 2014 at 12:05 PM
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SCHENECTADY, N.Y., March 14 (UPI) -- A New York state school superintendent said a kindergartener who boarded the wrong bus and posed as a transfer student highlights some "serious issues."

Officials said the Schenectady girl boarded the wrong school bus Wednesday morning, when the bus was being driven by a substitute driver, and ended up at Yates Magnet School instead of Howe International Magnet School, the Albany (N.Y.) Times Union reported Friday.

Administrators said staff did not recognize the girl when she arrived at Yates and they asked if she was a new student, using the name of an expected new kindergartener. The girl responded that she was the new student and used the name throughout the day, answering to it and writing it on papers.

The district did not realize the mixup until the girl's mother, Patricia Rodriguez, called officials Wednesday afternoon to report the child had failed to come home on her usual bus. Officials told the woman to contact police, and staff soon discovered the true identity of the new arrival at Yates.

"We are very happy that the student was located and is fine," superintendent Larry Spring said. "We regret that Ms. Rodriguez spent yesterday afternoon worrying about her child."

"While the student did impersonate another student, which didn't raise any red flags, the situation has brought to light some other serious issues that need to be addressed on our end," Spring said. He said the girl did mislead school workers, but "we have to remember that she is a kindergartener who was alone."

"We will be taking a close look at our school intake process and develop a system to ensure the identification of any new students as they enter the schools," Spring said.

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