Fayetteville 6 Year Old Goes Missing After No One Notices Him On Wrong Bus

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – A Fayetteville kindergarten student was missing for about an hour Thursday afternoon after getting on the wrong bus, despite wearing a tag meant to prevent such instances.

The six-year-old boy was discovered in his home about an hour after his mother and aunt noticed he was missing, having walked home after being dropped off at the wrong bus stop, the boy’s family said. His aunt said it’s “dumb luck” he was able to make it home safely.

Police were not called because the boy was discovered before administrators considered that an option, a school district spokesman said.

Owl Creek School student Tracy was waiting in his bus line outside of the school around 2:55 p.m. Thursday. A “D1” tag pinned on his backpack noted which bus he was supposed to get on. Instead, the boy veered onto a different bus, the “R” line, his family told 5NEWS.

The school district spokesman said he could not answer whether it is anyone’s responsibility to make sure students’ tags match their bus. The boy’s aunt, Jeanette Smith, told 5NEWS she does not know why the school district even has bus tags if no one is supposed to check them.

Tracy does not usually ride the bus and was supposed to get on the “D1” bus in order to be dropped off at his cousin’s house. Instead, the wrong bus dropped him off on Harvard Street, where the six year old walked from the bus stop to his home, where he was later discovered by family members.

The school district spokesman said he does not know why the boy was dropped off at that location. Smith said the school district and Tracy’s family got lucky. The next student who goes missing because of being dropped off at the wrong place may not be so lucky, she said.

Smith said she and the boy’s mother are still waiting for answers from the school district. She said the school’s principal promised the situation would not happen again, but she said the school district did not admit any blame in the incident.


  • FedUp

    “dumb luck”? I believe the kid is smart, and was aware of his surroundings and therefore made it to his home safely because of this.

  • joy clark

    Glad he is safe. Someone should have been checking the tags! However at our school, only students who normally ride the bus can board, and they are only dropped off at their house. In other words, the boy would not be dropped off at this cousin’s house.

  • Hope Johnson

    The same thing happened to my daughter in Arkoma, OK. Way smaller school. My daughter had convinced the bus driver I wasn’t home because my car wasn’t there and told him not to drop her off; to take her somewhere else (who didn’t happen to be home.) Well, I WAS home, and I was furious. My daughter ended up walking the streets of town crying and wailing until she ended up getting into a car with someone who took her back home. Luckily for me, I DID know that person. My daughter didn’t. The whole thing could have been way worse. The principal told me that it was a students’ responsibility to know where they were supposed to get off the bus. That was it. First grade. “They should be smart enough to know what they are doing.” Thank goodness it was a small town. Had that happened in a big town, I’m not sure I would have my daughter back.

  • Jane Doe

    @Hope Johnson. My son went to arkoma for one year in pre-k and the principal ran it like a mini bootcamp..doesnt surprise me at all she would think your daughter should know where to get off. Needless to say my kids no longer go to arkoma.

  • zztopperman

    Dumb luck? Sounds like several instances of just plain ol’ dumb to me and that God was watching out for this little kid. First of all, the parents should have made sure he got on the right bus, or that he was at least dropped of at the right bus stop. Would you drop your kindergarten age child at a bus stop in today’s world? I wouldn’t. Then the bus driver should be responsible to notice the letter on the backpack to verify the child was getting on the right bus. If that’s too difficult for the driver, he or she has no business driving a bus loaded with children!

    • Erin Cain Novak

      This article isn’t about a parent dropping their child off at the wrong bus stop. The child got on the wrong bus after school, so the bus dropped him off at the wrong location.

      • zztopperman

        Erin: you are absolutely correct. (my mistake) Not the parents fault at all…it would all be on the school and the bus driver. Thanks for pointing out my mistake that it was after school not before school.

  • Paul

    HAH! This happened to me when I was in kindergarten some 26 years ago. First day of kindergarten, and we didn’t have any tags nor anyone making sure kids got on the right bus. Several older kids lied to me saying that I needed to stay on the bus when we arrived at the elementary school. I did, and the next stop was the high school. Bus driver found me in the back later on, and some faculty member drove me to the correct school in their car. No one notified my parents. I was really upset. I was supposed to get off at Field School in Neosho MO, and wound up in the bus barn at Neosho High School. They shut the bus down and everything, and I was alone on there for about 5 minutes before someone came back with a broom to sweep and discovered me. I knew that couldn’t be the rigth school because it was all teenagers getting off there. I stayed in my seat alone and they drove over to the bus barn next to the high school and parked it. LOL, glad the kid’s safe.

  • matt

    Make the little turds walk. I had to walk 12 miles and fight off bears, and Sasquatch’s when I was his age.

    • 1Loko2kno

      @Matt and @ITBURNSWHENIPP Congradufreakinlations you did sum walking when you were young! Give yourselves pats on your backs and move on! Sasquatches don’t exist, and if you had to fight off bears…shame on YOUR parents! Also Matt, since you think my cousin is a turd, why don’t you call my number and speak to me. (479) 799-3427

  • itburnzwhenipp

    Oh God not the helpless children…oh no! Listen up you idiots, I walked 1 mile to school when I was 6. Lighten up

  • Leten Uno

    Millions and Millions of children ride buses each day. These events happen occasionally. Many times it’s like this one where the kid(s) were suppose to take a different bus for some reason. The parents put this child into a situation for whatever reason.

  • Myrt

    The tags should be color coded so it would be more noticeable to see for example a kid with a bight red tag among all the other kids that have a bright green tags. Just common sense.

  • keepingitreal

    A couple of you idiots commenting about being badass little 6 year olds in YOUR day need to shut up. Just because times were different or you were living the gangsta life being tough and looking out for yourself in Kindergarten does NOT mean that ALL six-year-olds are street smart punks. Many are innocent and kind and haven’t been out roaming the streets because their parents would like to keep them safe and ALIVE. In today’s world of child molesting idiots, you cannot leave your child’s safety to chance. Have some common sense and compassion instead of being so self-centered and stupid.

  • proud okie

    I agree Keepingitreal. Things have changed alot since I was a kid and walked to school. People wouldn’t think of hurting a kid back then. They would help kids and senior citizens. They would always be there for neighbors and any one else that needed help. We need to always keep our eyes on our kids and grandkids because this is a bad world we live in today.

  • John

    Dumb luck he made it home safely? That is a sign of a sick mind to think a six-year-old making it home safely is “dumb luck” rather than what should be expected to happen. That she calls it “dumb luck” shows the irrational fear so many people have about those millions of molesters on patrol (in that fearful bunch’s minds). It’s definitely not something that should happen every day, but the kid’s fine, right? Calm down. Many children of the same age are able to get on the buses they are supposed to be on; this one, in this one instance, was not.

  • Sentinel

    Before you bad mouth the bus driver or school, try driving a bus. A teacher can only have 30 students, but today’s larger buses seat 60 to 70 students. The driver not only has to be aware of the students, but aware of all the idiots driving and texting while trying to beat or go around the bus because they don’t want to wait. Parents should teach their child the address to the home so it will aid the driver. Many times students get off at a community stop and the driver has no clue where they live. And lastly, there are the students who ride once a month or a couple times a year, or ride to mom’s on even number days and dad’s on odd number days and grandmas on every other full moon. It is hard to keep up with all the little ones and DRIVE the bus.

  • Tina Smith

    Wow my heart goes out to the mother…..Today my son also got dropped off at the wrong bus stop and im in need of legal help to make sure this doesn’t happen again. My son is only 7 yrs old and now he doesnt want to ride the bus anymore. Im thankful to have my son come back home safe this must stop. Tina Smith can reach me for questions at kittygreen1@hotmil.com……..

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