DALLAS — The mother of a first grader at Charles Gill Elementary School said she wants an apology from the Dallas Independent School District after a mistake by staff left her son wandering through congestion and construction at a busy intersection under LBJ Freeway.
"I can't close my eyes at night and sleep all the way through knowing my child was on the freeway," Charlet Wherry said.
Her six-year-old, Jaky-re Alex, is picked up by his aunt every day. But a teacher mistakenly put him on a school bus last Friday.
Wherry said she raced to the campus when she discovered her son was missing.
"I immediately started calling his name," she said. "I told people with the walkie-talkies to go look in the portables... go look everywhere. I went in the men's bathroom, the janitor's office. I was screaming his name and I was looking for my baby."
The little boy got off the bus with other children on Ferguson Road at Woodmeadow Parkway. He told his mom he stood around for a few minutes, but when nobody came to get him, he started walking east, went under the LBJ Freeway, then walked through construction and congestion.
That's about the time a woman driving by saw the six-year-old, realized something wasn't right, and called police.
"It just felt so good — like I had him all over again when I saw him," Wherry said before putting her face in her hand and crying. "It felt so good to see him in that car. They couldn't get him out quick enough for me!"
"This is a highly regrettable incident," said Dallas ISD spokesman Jon Dahlander. "What I really want to emphasize the most is how thankful we are that somebody saw this child walking along the side of the road, did the right thing, and contacted the police department."
"The child went into the line for bus transportation instead of the line for pickup," Dahlander explained. "When he got into that line, he kept going with it. The school was very alarmed by it and it's taking the safeguards to make sure this doesn't happen again."
Dallas ISD said the school working to ensure that its bus riders are properly identified now.
Jaky-re is in the hospital with asthma, which his mom thinks might have been brought on by the anxiety around that dangerous walk.