GREENVILLE, SC – Greenville County Schools issued an apology Wednesday after a local mother said her six-year-old son went unaccounted for over the course of several hours after school.
The incident happened on Monday. Shawnee Colabella told 7 News she couldn’t find her son when she went to pick him up from Kids and Company Daycare. Staff there told her that her son never arrived.
“The worst thought was going through my mind. I didn’t know if I was ever going to see him again,” Colabella said.
Her son was supposed to ride the bus to the daycare after school.
A frantic Colabella called police and drove to East North Street Academy to see if he was still there.
According to Colabella, faculty told her that her son was not in the building and to check again with the daycare.
Within the hour, the 6-year-old was located at an after-school program that he’s not enrolled in.
“I turned to the director and said how could this have happened?” said Colabella. “Because this was her program. How was he unaccounted for for so long and where the disconnect was… and all she said was ‘I don’t know, I wasn’t here and this isn’t my fault.’”
Greenville County Schools apologized Wednesday, saying faculty made a mistake and did not properly follow protocol.
“We were able to take a look at the situation, talk to the principal and talk to the staff, and make corrective action so this doesn’t happen again,” spokesperson Beth Brotherton said.
Brotherton explained that the initial error occurred when a teacher responsible for escorting children onto the daycare bus thought the young boy was out sick that day.
The second error was when a teacher allegedly found the boy in a different classroom after school and then escorted him to the after school program.
The teacher leading the class believed the boy was just joining the program, according to Brotherton, and didn’t notify anyone.
Colabella took to Facebook on Tuesday, expressing dissatisfaction with how the situation was handled by school staff.
Brotherton responded Wednesday to the post, saying that after an investigation by the school’s principal, faculty responded appropriately to the situation.
Colabella and school officials reportedly met Wednesday afternoon to discuss how the mix-up occurred.