School Loses Boy on His First Day of Pre-K

OMG 88

school busIt was 4-year-old Daren Maldonado's first day of prekindergarten. Anyone who has ever dropped off their child on that special day knows just how exciting, frightening, and wrought with emotions it likely was for both him and his mom who walked him into his classroom and kissed him goodbye. That's why what happened when school was over for the day is so horrifying to even imagine.

According to, Angela Maldonado went to pick her son up that afternoon, all excited to hear about his first day. But he couldn't tell her -- because he wasn't there, and no one knew where he was. Even worse -- the teacher for his classroom said she didn't think any of the students was named Daren.

It gets worse.

For more than two hours after that, no one could find the boy. Witnesses say no one from the school -- School 23 in Yonkers, N.Y. -- really helped the mom either. Yesenia Morales, who has a daughter in the class, told the station, "No one really wanted to help her ... they were saying he probably ran off."

Fortunately, the story had a happy ending, and Daren was reunited with his family around 6 p.m. Apparently he was put on the wrong bus, and when no one claimed him at any of the bus stops, he was taken to a Board of Education office where someone finally figured things out.

I know mistakes happen, but this is just awful. That poor little boy. That poor mother. The things that she must have imagined happening to him, and the things that could have happened to him are terrifying. Also, I'd love to hear an explanation from the teacher as to why she didn't know there was a boy named Daren in her class all day, or if he was in another class.

When we drop our children off at school, we entrust them to the care of teachers and school officials. To see that trust so blatantly broken shakes us all.

Can you imagine this happening to your child?


Image via born1945/Flickr

in the news, nursery school


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nonmember avatar nicole

the most disturbing thing about this is the teacher claiming there was no kid in her class by that name...

second, that no one 'wanted' to help...really this is a school you put your trust into them while they have their kids in their care, just as you put your trust into the daycare providers.
I would strongly consider a new school for my kid...this wouldn't fly well in my house.

Autum... Autumnleaves87

I feel like 4 year olds are too small to ride the bus. Why is a preschool child riding alone? Maybe its just me, but that seems too young to do that... And this story is an example as to why.

2baby... 2babymomma

I think he wasn't supposed to ride a bus cuz it says the mom went to pick him up

nonmember avatar Momof2

I used to work in preschool administration, and one day a mother came in to get her 4-y-o son and He Wasn't There.

You'd better BELIEVE we wanted to help her! We went to all of the classrooms and checked all of the dismissal areas, comforted the mom, and finally decided to call the bus company and have ALL the school buses pulled over. One of them, indeed, had an extra kid, but the mom couldn't relax until the driver dropped him off back at the school. It seems that while the line of children was being walked to parent-pickup, another line of children was being walked to a bus, and being 4, the child had just peeled off of the correct line and gone to the other. And somehow the busdriver never noticed, which was upsetting as well. I also remember wondering why the kid hadn't started crying or said something when he realized he was being put on a bus.

The next day we implemented new rules for how often the teachers had to count the children in their dismissal areas, and how we expected the bus monitors to take attendance. Never lost a kid again while I was there.

Long story to make a short point: crazy things happen. The school absolutely should have gotten deeply involved in finding the child, and they absolutely must develop tighter procedures for dismissal.

MrsRo... MrsRoberts413

Yeah, this is why at every school I've worked in, we tag the kids up through 2nd grade, we put a backpack tag on their bags or a sticker on their shirt for the first couple weeks of school, with the child's name, grade, teacher, and how they get home (car rider, after-school care, or bus #).  Every teacher also keeps an updated roster on a dismissal list with the same information on it.  Every day, in all grades, teachers walk the students out to the buses to make darn sure everybody gets to the right place!  It's too much of a liability not to micromanage dismissal, especially for the little ones.  There's just no excuse for that happening, even on the hectic first days-teachers should be even more vigilant then!

Missy Hopper Badalyan

My daughter went to a preschool at a church so I drove her to and from school they didn't have bus transportation. My twins who just turned 4 go to our counties head start for an IEP. They ride a bus. They wear name info tags on a string as a necklace. It tells their name, address, bus # & driver, class # & teachers & on back of card emergency contact info & who is allowed to get them off the bus at my house if I'm not there. When the bus gets to school the teachers are there to unload the buses & load on the buses the morning kids to go home. Then the afternoon kids ( my boys are afternoon kids) all go in the gym and get putinto their class groups & go with their teachers to their classes. Their bus ID necklace gets put in a bag with their coats with their names on the bag to keep items together. They wear name tags on their shirts for the 1st few weeks. I was nerveous for the 1st 2-3 weeks last year as they were only 3 & first time being away from me but I trust the school and my twins have really thrived going there.

nonmember avatar Tanesha

Happened to me when I was a kid I fell asleep on the bus and I ended up at the bus terminal and they called the school and contacted my mom things happen but luckily he was on a bus. If things were perfect then everything will be great but they did the right thing they didn't just ask him his stop and put him off so thankful for that cause some people just don't care

Rachael Bassett

If my kid's teacher forgot my child was in her pre-k class. I would take her out of that class. 

Brandi SomeOnez-Princess Parker

I have an Autistic son who is 6 now, last year Noyes Elementary of Saint Joseph MO lost him 2 times and NEVER CALLED ME ONCE! They sent a note home with him saying they lost him but not to worry they found him... Makes you wonder what they would have said or done had they not found him. He is in a better school now with teachers who really care about him, this over course was after I gave his former teacher and principal a verbal lashing. Over the summer my youngest went to summer school, the first day they put him on the wrong bus had me scared to death. I was at his stop, he never got off and when I asked they said he don't ride this bus, I argued that its the damn bus I put him on that morning. 

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