Granville County kindergartener put on bus home by mistake

Local News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Granville County kindergartener was wrongly put on a bus after school on Monday, leading his parents to not know where he was for two and a half hours.

His father, Joshua Nelson, dropped him off at school Monday morning at Tar River Elementary, but when it was time for afternoon pickup, no one knew where his son, Kaiden, was.

Nelson rushed to the school thinking something terrible had happened.

“Think of something you love and care about the most and think of somebody taking it and destroying it – that’s how I felt,” said Nelson.

Monday was the 6-year-old’s first day at Tar River Elementary.

“It’s a new school for him, so we’re driving in the carpool line, he gets a little excited,” said Nelson.

He said he gave Kaiden a hug and kiss and waved goodbye as he walked in.

Later in the day, his fiancée called saying Kaiden wasn’t at the school for pick-up.

“We’re freaking out because they don’t know where our kid’s at,” he said.

Nelson dropped everything and drove an hour and a half from his job site to get to the school.

“I don’t cry, but I cried on the way there thinking my kid got kidnapped or stolen.”

Joshua Nelson


Turns out Kaiden somehow ended up on a school bus. The district tells CBS 17 that when they learned the child was on the bus they kept parents updated every 15 minutes.

The driver brought him back to the school after finishing the route.

“It was about three hours where we didn’t know where he was,” said Nelson.

The Granville County Public Schools System released the following statement:

“We did have a situation yesterday whereby a ‘car-rider’ student was accidentally placed on a school bus after school. The principal discovered the mix-up and the bus returned to the school after the route with the student and was reunited with the mom. The student was in our care the entire time and was not in any danger. We apologized to the family and spoke with them about the issue and our commitment to make sure this does not happen again.

We have strengthened our processes to double check and verify that the correct students are transported appropriately at the end of the day.”

Granville County Public Schools System

Over the phone, a spokesperson told CBS 17 Kaiden was never reported as absent or labeled as a different student.

Nelson said faculty members told his fiancée otherwise.

“What they told my fiancée and what he’s saying are two totally different things,” said Nelson.

Nelson said all he wants now is change.

“That should’ve been the day you show all the parents this is our safety protocol, ‘This is how we run things.’ Instead, we got, ‘We lost your kid on the first day of school,'” said Nelson.

The district said because of this incident, they are clipping tags onto students, so they end up on the right bus.

Nelson said he is going to bring more safety ideas to the school board.

CBS 17 reached out to all the school board members about this — only one responded and wouldn’t comment.

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