CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. One Champaign mother said her five-year-old was left to walk alone several blocks away from her home. She said her school bus dropped her off thirty minutes early without notice.

The kindergartener walked three blocks and through an intersection to get home. Misty Lewis said she was terrified when she realized what had happened. Her daughter, Shaylee, arrived alone and said, “I walked home by myself.”

Lewis said she immediately called the bus terminal to explain the situation. According to Lewis, their response was, “it’s legal.”

We’ve reached out to the Champaign school district, and they say:

“While we do our best to safely transport students to and from school every day, occasionally buses may run earlier or later than usual. The Transportation Department continuously reviews and adjusts bus routes and schedules for more efficient traveling. We certainly appreciate the grace and understanding we are receiving from our families.” 

Stacey Moore, Champaign School District Chief Communication Officer.

The family’s neighborhood has no sidewalks. So, Shaylee had to walk in the busy street. Lewis said this incident was only the beginning. It went from the bus dropping Shaylee off early to no bus at all.

“What happened to my daughter could very well happen again and not have the same results. We were very fortunate that she made her way home safely. But this an ongoing issue but we have to do more. I don’t know what we can do, but we have to keep our kids safe,” said the Lewis.

The mother of three said usually either she or her teenage sons would wait at the bus stop for Shaylee. On that day, it was a substitute bus driver.

Lewis added that while this is a first for her family, it’s an issue that she’s been hearing from other parents as well.