A mother in Houma, Louisiana, was horrified when she learned that her 5-year-old son did not get off his school bus Monday afternoon. Her son Kenneth was later found walking on the side of the road by police, according to local reports.
“I got an empty pit in my stomach because at that moment I didn’t know where my child was,” Kathleen Hotard told WDSU. “I was scared.”
Hotard said her son refused to take the bus because his classmates at Legion Park Elementary had been bullying him.
“Because every week they throw spitballs, and they land on my ear,” Kenneth told WWL, when asked why he didn’t board the bus.
And on Monday, Hotard said he told a substitute teacher that he had been given permission to walk home.
“I was informed my child had lied and said he had a parental note to walk home,” Hotard told WWL. “I confirmed I never wrote a note, and they confirmed they never saw a note. He said he had misplaced it.”
Kenneth was found about a half mile from his school after someone reported that he was walking down the road alone, according to WWL. When police found him, he was walking home in the wrong direction.
Hotard added that her son, who has not returned to school, told her, “I’m ready to go to another school.”
“He doesn’t want to be by himself,” Hotard told WDSU of the ordeal. “He urinated on himself because he was too afraid to go alone. He’s having anxiety from this.”
Now, Hotard said the school is investigating the incident after the school superintendent admitted what happened to her and her son was “wrong.”
“I don’t want any other parent to ever have to feel what I felt,” she said. “I don’t want any other child to be on a side of a road by themselves scared … I feel like accountability needs to be taken by the school, by the teachers, and by the school board. Things have to change.”
Neither the Houma Police Department nor Legion Park Elementary immediately responded to a request for comment.