KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knox County family is demanding answers after they said their 12-year-old Gresham Middle School student was dropped off more than a mile from his home by a school bus.
Monday marked Aiden Smart’s first day at his new school, Gresham Middle School after his family moved from across town.
According to Aiden’s mother, Kayla, everything started when Aiden was asked to board a bus different from what he initially thought.
“They printed out a paper for Aiden and wrote down the bus number so he knew right then was the bus he was supposed to get on,” said Aiden’s mother, Kayla Smart.
Once on board, Aiden watched as student after student got off.
“He [the bus driver] came to the school again to pick up a couple more kids for a second load and then got to his last stop,” Aiden explained.
That’s when, according to Aiden, the driver asked him: “Are you ok to get off here?”
Confused, Aiden said yes and got off the bus. He watched as his driver pulled away and left him somewhere he did not recognize. According to iPhone Maps, Aiden was left 1.4 miles away from his home, which equals a five-minute drive.
Due to his family’s recent move, Aiden was left on the side of the road with no idea where he was.
Thankfully, Aiden had his cellphone and quickly texted his mother to explain what happened.
“He said ‘Mom, he said the bus driver let me off at a stop and I don’t know where I am’,” Kayla told WATE.
By using the Find My iPhone app, Aiden’s father was able to quickly find his son and get him to safety.
“After that, he asked me a couple questions, ‘How did that happen’,” Aiden said. “Honestly, I didn’t even know. They tell me to get on that bus and it took me to a random location.”
Aiden’s parents say they contacted Knox County Schools who then told them to contact the the school’s department of transportation. That’s when Aiden’s parents say the situation got even worse.
“They have trackers,” said Kayla. “She was able to pull up bus 111 and the route that he did do, two of them, and he never even came on Inskip Road and that was part of his [the bus driver’s] route.”
Today, Aiden refuses to ride the bus out of fear he will be left again. Instead, he repeatedly asks his mother to pick him up.
WATE contacted Knox County Schools about the situation and received the following statement:
“The Transportation Department was made aware that bus 111 on Monday did not make a stop on its route. We notified the bus contractor of the situation and it was corrected the following day.”
After speaking with Kayla, WATE learned she was also contacted late Wednesday afternoon. She said she was contacted by Superintendent Dr. Jon Rysewyk’s office. According to Kayla, the school system is still investigating the situation and is working to “perfect” Aiden’s route.
Kayla told WATE she not only hopes to speak with Rysewyk, but also demands repercussions for the driver.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the fact the Smart family recently moved to the Inskip Road area from another part of town.