Bus mix-up led to misadventures of lost 4-year-old

June 07, 1995|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,Sun Staff Writer

A bus mix-up caused Monday's misadventures of Jay Little Jr., 4, who wound up at Winfield Elementary School -- then the police station -- instead of the school where he belonged.

But yesterday, the people involved offered conflicting accounts of how he got lost.

Jay usually is dropped off by one of his parents at Kiddie Academy, a day care center on Milford Mill Road, each morning. From there, a bus picks him up at 8 a.m. and takes him to Hebbville Elementary for a half-day educational program. At 11:45 a.m., he takes the bus back to Kiddie Academy, and his parents pick him up there each evening.

On Monday, two Kiddie Academy staff members held Jay's hands while waiting for his bus, according to Ann Washington, assistant director of the day care center. When one arrived, they asked the driver, "Are you here for Jay?" and the driver replied yes, she said.

Jay got off at the Winfield bus stop, she said, and the driver -- apparently a substitute -- did not know that he was headed for a different school.

But Jay's mother and Hebbville's principal disputed that account. They said Jay got on the wrong bus -- and that Winfield and Hebbville are served by different buses.

"They put him on the wrong bus," said Jay's mother, Zaundria Borns-Little, who spent most of yesterday investigating the mix-up and plans to take Jay out of the day care program. "That's what makes me a little angry now. They're trying to cover it up."

When Jay showed up Monday at Winfield, he carried no identification. Ms. Washington said Jay came that morning without his notebook, where identification and phone numbers are usually kept. When no one at the school or in the area recognized him, school officials called police, and the boy spent most of the day coloring and playing in the Woodlawn precinct's lobby.

Hebbville's principal, Sue Ockun, said she was not alarmed by Jay's absence because small children are often absent, and his attendance has been sporadic all year.

Staff members at Kiddie Academy did not think anything was wrong, either. When no bus came to drop Jay off at 11:45 a.m., the staff assumed his parents had him, Ms. Washington said.

It wasn't until 5:15 p.m. that Jay's father heard something had gone wrong. Jay Little Sr. went to pick up his son at Kiddie Academy but he wasn't there. Mr. Little later learned from a neighbor who saw Jay's story on television that the boy was in police custody.

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