Schenectady School District responds after kindergartner mix-up

Posted at: 03/13/2014 12:51 PM
Updated at: 03/13/2014 9:03 PM
By: Dan Bazile

SCHENECTADY – Janeya Nevins, 5, was not in her kindergarten classroom today. Her mother Patricia Rodriguez wanted to to keep her close, after quite a scare on Wednesday.

"It's still upsetting to me. I look at her and I could still cry," Rodriguez said.

For nearly three hours, Rodriguez said her world was turned up side down. She put her daughter on a school bus in the morning, but she was nowhere to be found that afternoon.

"The school just informed us she wasn't in school all day. I'm like, 'What are you talking about?'" she said.

It turns out, the bus took Janeya to the wrong school. She was supposed to go to Howe Elementary in Schenectady. Instead, the bus dropped her off at Yates Elementary School. That's where she spent the rest of the day, in a first grade classroom, without anyone noticing.

The Schenectady City School district sent out a statement. Part of it said, "The confusion could have been avoided at the start of the day when the student boarded the wrong bus, which was driven by a substitute driver."

Rodriguez admitted it was the wrong bus, but she said there are multiple buses on that route and the driver was familiar to her.

"He might have recognized her because he picked her up last week. It was nothing for him either to get her on the bus," she said.

The school district said the 5-year-old also misled administrators and teachers by "assuming the identity of a new student, one whom the school was expecting."

"She's a kindergartner. The other child is a first grader," Rodriguez said.

Still, school officials said Janeya's presence at the wrong school didn't raise any red flags. She even wrote the other student's name on papers throughout the day, according to the school. But at home, some of the paperwork had Janeya's name written at the top.

The school district said they have many issues to address on their end, including communication between substitute drivers and the district. They also will take a closer look at the new student intake process and make sure students are identified better. The school does not have a policy in place to call parents when kids are absent, but they say it's common practice.

Rodriguez said she's considering legal action.

The district's entire statement is below:

Schenectady City School District Statement by WNYT13