By Linda Cicoira
Eastern Shore Post
Accomack Schools is investigating a June 14 incident in which a third grade student was driven home from Pungoteague Elementary School by an unauthorized person.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Hall said Tuesday night that the incident has become a personnel matter and therefore she cannot comment.
The Keller woman telling this story is the girl’s grandmother, but said she has custody of the 9-year-old, whom she is raising as her daughter. Upon advice of her attorney, the woman asked that her own identity not be disclosed.
The woman said she was waiting for her child to get off the bus last Friday afternoon when the bus passed the house without stopping. She said she thought there must be a sick child on the bus “who had to get off first” and the bus would circle back around. But that didn’t happen.
Instead, “five minutes after the bus went by” at about 3:45 p.m., “I’m standing there on the porch” and “a white car pulls up” with a “stranger” at the wheel and her daughter gets out. “I didn’t know the woman (driving) from Adam,” the woman said. “I did not meet
her until she pulled up in my yard with my child in her car.”
The driver explained that she has a child in the same class as the Keller girl who asked for a ride. The driver said she was allowed to sign both students out and was never questioned by a school worker about it.
The school had been given the names of three relatives who are permitted to pick up the child. The driver “could have been a pervert or a child molester,” she said.
“I want something done about this,” the woman added. “You don’t let a stranger take a child out of the school. Your children are supposed to be safe when they go to school,” she continued. “It was very careless on their part. …They are investigating it. They have no explanation. None.”
“I have had nightmares every night since this happened,” the woman said. “I wake up screaming. This has really put me through a stress test.” In the meantime, she “reprimanded” her child was “quite highly” for getting in the vehicle.
“The school has a criteria to meet,” the woman said. “When she gets on the school bus (in the morning,) I expect her to be on the school bus to come home.”
She said the principal apologized for the incident and said it wouldn’t happen again. “I can guarantee you it will never happen again,” the woman said.
“I’m not going to go away. I’m not going to let it be ignored.”