After nearly three hours of searching for her 10-year-old son who was mistakenly dropped off at the wrong bus stop, an Omaha mom says she’s displeased with Omaha Public Schools.
On Thursday afternoon, Kacei Otis immediately called OPS after her son, Jaden, who was autism, never made it home at his scheduled drop-off time between 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
OPS informed her Jaden had been dropped off at 4:40 p.m. near 38th and Cuming, which is the family’s old home address. That address is four blocks from the family’s actual home at 42nd and Cuming.
The family rushed to 38th and Cuming to look for Jaden, but when they arrived, Jaden was nowhere to be seen. Otis then called Omaha Police for help.
OPS also sent administrators to Otis’s home to assist with the search.
Nearly three hours later, at about 7:30 p.m., OPD located Jaden at Florence and Larimore St. nearly four miles from his house after a man saw the missing child alert on the news. The man said he was able to calm Jaden down and called police.
Otis says when she was reunited with her son, he was tired and sore. She says Jaden told her he was lost and tried making his way to Benson where his aunt lives.
Otis says she’s been dealing with bus issues with the district all year. She says Jaden’s bus, which is a Special Ed. bus, sometimes shows up an hour and a half late or forgets to pick him up for school.
Otis says today’s mistake, which put her son’s life in danger, requires immediate action from OPS.
“It was a huge mistake on their part because he has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) that says door to door transportation. He is supposed to make eye contact – the bus driver or whoever it is, is supposed make eye contact with either a sibling or someone in the house and physically watch them walk into the house,” said Otis.
Monique Farmer, a spokesperson with OPS says the incident “sounds like it was a mistake due to obviously a route sheet that was potentially inaccurate and a substitute driver.”
Otis says she did inform the district of the address change and added there had been no issues of wrong drop off locations since their move.
Otis is scheduled to meet with OPS and the superintendent on Friday.
OPS said the district is investigating whether any protocols from the driver were violated.