HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — LaToya Livngston said her daughter, Penelope Barnes, was excited to ride the bus for the first time.
"Every time we saw a school bus, she would go, 'Momma, I can't want to go to big girls school so I can ride the bus'," Livingston said.
But the excitement would be short-lived. Livingston said her daughter was put on the wrong bus and dropped off in the wrong neighborhood ... alone ... after the first day of school.
“They had the wrong bus information in the system for my address. They had the wrong destination in the system for my address," Livingston listed. “She was dropped off in the neighborhood that the school is in, which is in a completely different neighborhood.”
Livingston claims a teacher at Red Oak Elementary in Henry County put her child on the bus, even though she called and told them to send her to after-care until she could be picked up.
She says she didn't know her daughter was missing until she received a call at work from her own mom, who watched Penelope walk up to the front steps of their home by herself.
“I was thinking, 'I could have never saw my daughter again. That’s my only daughter',” Livingston recalled.
A Henry County Schools handbook policy says "students 8 years old and younger will be required to have a parent/guardian present at the designated school bus stop." It adds, if the parent or guardian isn’t there, students are taken back to school.
Livingston showed 11Alive voicemails from the Head of Transportation for Henry County Schools. She claims this is the only person she's heard from, so far. Livingston said she doesn’t think anyone is taking the issue seriously.
“(Not) Even an apology. There has been nothing," she accused. "I leave my daughter in your hands, and she could have been kidnapped. And you just let her go, let her drown to me.”
Livingston said her ex-husband now leaves work and picks up their daughter because Penelope is too scared to get back on the bus.
11Alive asked a Henry County spokesperson about Livingston’s claim and if anything was being done. The spokesperson only said, “they’ll have to look into it.” They got back to us Friday with more information.
According to Henry County Schools spokesperson J.D. Hardin, video shows LaToya Livingston's daughter getting on the right bus and getting off at the right stop. However, Hardin did say they are investigating why the child was let off of the bus if there was no one to meet the child.
School system policy says that under those circumstances, she should have been returned to the school. Hardin maintained the address they have for her in the system was correct.
On Friday afternoon, Livingston said she was on her way to the school offices to view the video. She insisted that her daughter was dropped off at the wrong location because they had the wrong address.
She also said her daughter should have never been on the bus, to begin with, because she had called the school earlier in the day to arrange for her child to be picked up by a parent.