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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – What she described as an hour-long wait felt more like a lifetime to a worried mother in New Hanover County, Monday afternoon.
Wendy Glenn pulled in to Dorothy B. Johnson Elementary to pick up her son like she does every day, but three-year-old Michael was not there.
"If you don't have a child, you don't know that feeling," said Glenn.
Administrators with the New Hanover County Head Start let her know that Michael was on one of the program's two buses. Mother and son were reunited, but Glenn said she does not understand how the three year old slipped past so many adults.
"Who wasn't doing their job?" she wondered aloud.
WECT.com was told that a comment would have to come from Head Start's headquarters in Washington, D.C. In the meantime, the local group's interim director explained that Community Development Institute is working to improve the pre-k program.
CDI is the temporary force behind Head Start until a permanent agency is chosen. New Hanover County Schools applied for the sponsorship.
Since restarting the program this year, the interim-director explained that CDI reworked the transportation system. That includes reducing the number of bus riders on buses, per federal regulations. The new system has teachers and bus monitors both using a checklist to make sure any student on a bus should actually be on the bus.
Cynthia Brown, Executive Director of Community Action, contacted WECT.com after the initial story aired. She said the organization formerly responsible for Head Start has no connection to Monday's bus incident.
She explained that the words "Community Action" written on the sides of the buses should have been removed by now.
"It just causes more collateral damage to our organization," said Brown.
An incident report is expected to learn the cause of the misplaced child, but Glenn said that doesn't make the situation any less upsetting or excusable.
"There's nothing you can say to me could make me feel better," she said.
Copyright 2012 WECT. All rights reserved.