NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Brooklyn father wants answers after his autistic son was dropped off at the wrong school by a city school bus.
Five-year-old preschooler Nicholas Hionas, fondly known as Niko, has autism and is largely non-verbal.
When he was dropped off at the wrong school Thursday morning it could have been a very dangerous situation.
“I said how is it possible that a five-year-old autistic child is left over there unattended,” the boy’s father, Peter Hionas said.
Niko’s dad relies on the city school bus included in his son’s special education plan. It should pick him up and drop him off every day from his school – P.S. 282 – but on Thursday he got off the bus at P.S. 133.
That school is a half-mile away.
“I didn’t feel comfortable still so I said you know what, let me drive down to the school,” the father explained.
When he got to P.S. 282, the father says the school had simply marked him as absent for the day.
“They said no he didn’t show up they have him marked as absent. I said absent? He was on the bus this morning.”
A quick thinking teacher spotted the boy, found his emergency contact information written on his belongings, and called the Hionas family.
“He says he’s at 610 Baltic Street and I just lost it,” Peter Hionas told CBS2’s Tara Jakeway.
He brought Niko home unharmed Thursday. On Friday, he picked up Niko at school himself and he wants the city to pick up the slack.
Logan Bus Company operates that bus route. They claim that was the first day they took over after the Department of Education asked them to help out.
The DOE says they are looking into the incident and will now monitor the route. It’s not enough for parents at P.S. 282.
“Very scary because something wrong could’ve happened, it could’ve been worse,” parent Melissa Stroman said.
Luckily, Niko was unharmed and he has a message for the good Samaritans that helped him.
“Thank you for helping me get home safely,” the young boy said.
Due to the impact of the ordeal on the autistic five-year-old, Niko will have to be checked out by a doctor, medically evaluated, and cleared before he can get back on a city school bus.
Until that time his father plans to drive him to and from P.S. 282.