MCKEES ROCKS (KDKA) — Those “first-day-of-school jitters” turned into full blown panic for a McKees Rocks family when their child went missing after he was dropped off at the wrong bus stop.
The 5-year-old boy has autism, and the 90-minute ordeal has his mom angry and emotional.
Even with his favorite Spiderman backpack and hugs and reassurance from mom, Jeremiah Claybourne was still a little nervous about his first day of kindergarten.
But things went pretty smoothly at Sto-Rox Elementary, until dismissal time. J.J. has autism and someone gave him the wrong color-coded ID bracelet, and he ended up on the wrong bus.
Big brother, Dior, waited at the corner for J.J., but he wasn’t on board.
“That’s when I called my mom, and said, ‘I can’t find J.J.,’ and I was in tears ‘cause I thought I lost my little brother,” said Dior Devers.
LaShawna Battles rushed out of work and called the school, then police.
“You know, at this time, I’m crying. I’m panicking. I’m trying to calm down and remain professional, but it’s hard at that point,” she said.
J.J. was supposed to get off at Broadway and Third around 3:30 p.m. But he ended up six-blocks away. A Good Samaritan noticed he was lost and took him to the nearest crossing guard.
The crossing guard then took him to the police station where his relieved brother first spotted him.
“I gave him a big hug,” said Dior.
By that time, it was 5 o’clock.
“He was even lost and confused and frantic, ‘cause he thought I didn’t pick him up,” Dior said.
LaShawna isn’t sure what to do about school on Tuesday, but she’s grateful for her son and her community.
“Anybody could have took him, anyone,” she said. “My prayers was answered.”
KDKA put calls and emails into the school and district office, but no one was available there after-hours.
LaShawna says she just wants some kind of acknowledgement the system will work if there’s a next time.