A Georgia father berated school officials for their negligence after he and his wife received a call about their 5-year-old being left at school for the third time this year.

Video captured Tristan King yelling at Norton Elementary School administrators for allegedly losing track of his daughter on February 28.

The clip posted to Facebook showed the dad angrily confronting school staff members after King’s older son called him crying because the kindergartner didn’t get on the school bus.

But this wasn’t the first time the little girl was left at school.

Tristan De’Geon Facebook

King told AJC:

“He called us screaming that his sister wasn’t on the bus and they wouldn’t wait for her or let him off to find her.”

In the video, that has been shared more than 24,000 times, the father said to a female and male official:

“If you have adults all through the hallway, how did it happen for the third time?

The first time I was calm, I was understanding … the second time, I was mad but I let it go. The third time, my son called me crying from the bus, screaming that he doesn’t know where his sister is.”

The earlier incidents happened right after school started and again shortly after winter break in January. King told AJC:

“We didn’t make a big deal about it the first time. School had just started and everyone was getting used to the routine.”

But the third time he gave officials a tongue-lashing for the bus mishap since the couple works more than an hour away from the school and can’t pick up the girl until after 4 p.m. He said:

“I got the call around 3:15 and was told we had to get her by 4.”

King blamed Norton Elementary for losing track of his daughter, however, the female administrator in the video said it’s not the school’s fault that the girl missed her bus.

Watch the video below:

A woman said:

“That’s transportation, that’s separate.”

The angry father argued:

“You’re responsible — I release my child to get on your bus to come to your school. Until my child makes it home, you’re responsible for my child.”

Commenters on Facebook debated on whether or not King should blame his daughter’s school for the unfortunate incident.

One person wrote:

They can’t possibly hold every students hand and walk them to the bus. Your kid has to be accountable to pay attention and get on their bus.

The district transports over 130,000 kids by bus daily.

However, other parents shared similar experiences and said that King had every right to be upset because the situation wasn’t handled well by Norton Elementary School. Another person wrote:

He is 100% correct … Gwinnett county school system is responsible for your child until your child reaches his/her home!!!

Sloan Roach, a spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools, apologized for the bus incident and said:

“Sometimes these things happen. We try to avoid that and fix the problems as quickly and efficiently as we can.”

Roach added:

“School officials have reviewed things on their end and some new policies and procedures have been put in place.”

King’s 5-year-old and his older son are now being escorted to their school bus by an adult.

Do you think the school is responsible for ensuring young children make it on to the bus every day? Tell us your thoughts.

About the author

Tiffani is a writer for Dearly. She is from New York City. Prior to working for Dearly she covered fashion news and managed social media for various digital media outlets.

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62 Replies to “Dad Angrily Confronts School Officials After His 5-Year-Old Is Left Behind at School for the Third Time”

  • Sherry Dunlap 7 months ago

    Teachers should escort every child out of the building and ensure that they are picked up by designated persons be it a school bus or parent waiting. This child is only 5 years old and the school shouldn’t expect a child so young to be responsible enough to ensure they make it onto appropriate bus unaided.
    Even in my small community the local schools are more attentive than this. I cannot pick my grandchild up without seeing her teacher to ensure I am the person assigned to pick her up. Teachers are responsible for every child in their class until they are picked up.

    • Anonymous 7 months ago

      I agree 100%. I strongly believe teachers (or some appointed adult) should make sure that children at such a young age make it to their ride safely (whether it is to the bus or a parent’s car). That poor child could have been abducted by some pervert and then what??? This situation could have ended up worse, but thank God, the young girl is fine.

    • Anonymous 7 months ago

      There is over 200 kids in elementary, 25 to 30 teachers… do the math, can’t escort each child

      • Anonymous 7 months ago

        But they are responsible! This is a child not a pet.

      • Penny 7 months ago

        Yes they can. At our school lines up her students and they get in a line and march to the bus, just as if they were marching in a line going to dinner. They do this with the lower grades. Yes they can

        • Anonymous 7 months ago

          At the elementary school around here they line the car riders along the wall in the hall and the bus riders are places in another line and led to the bus area (the cafeteria) and seated at tables separated by bus number. There are a few teachers there to be sure those students get on their bus. This could have been easily avoided. The school just has to set up a schedule for such things to avoid this. Not that hard.

      • Anonymous 7 months ago

        at our school the teachers walk the class out to where the buses are

      • Anonymous 7 months ago

        Our school does. Especially the kindergarteners.

    • Anonymous 7 months ago

      At my daughters school we have to sign her out when we pick her up. If my mom picks her up, then she has to sign. The kids riding the bus get bus wrote beside their name as they get on the bus.

  • Tina 7 months ago

    This is shameful! The fact that the school is sliding responsibility off on the bus company is BS. They hired the bus company there for they are responsible. I’m glad the mother and father both went in ready to peel skin. That school needs it. As a mother of an autistic child that is the reason I took my daughter off the bus. She ended up at a strangers house across town and the schools response to me was we are so sorry but she should have paid more attention! 🤯😡🤬. These schools need to get their shit wired back together and take care of these kids like they pretend to and preach they do.

  • MissDRae 7 months ago

    I am on the fence. When I was that age I was responsible to catch the bus to school and home. I walked to the bus stop and knew I had to catch the bus home. I knew I had to run if needed.

    • Anonymous 7 months ago

      That’s understandable, BUT her brother was even screaming that his sister was not on the bus and the bus driver would not wait for her or let him off. At the very least, the bus driver should have allowed the boy to exit the bus to find his sister. The parents had to go up there anyway to pick her up; the dad would have just had to pick them both up, but at least she would not have been alone. I’m glad the parents went up to the school.

      • Anonymous 7 months ago

        Agreed

    • Teresa 7 months ago

      Sorry but you were only one child! You can’t possibly expect children that young to maintain that level of self-sufficiency everyday! It’s the administration that is shirking responsibility at this point!

  • Michael Bankston 7 months ago

    Talk about a bunch of bureaucrats! The school administrators don’t seem to care; they lack empathy.
    If I was the father, I would contact the school board. However, the parents should know better than to use profanity in a school environment.

  • Deb Mathers 7 months ago

    What the hell happened to the bus driver not having the nads to say something to whom ever was directing traffic that day. Around here. If a kid misses the bus of a morning the bus driver will swing back by to see if they were running late. They do not leave until everyone is accounted for after school.

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    Definitely sounded like someone not monitoring the children getting on the bus. In these circumstances, the dismissal of the students to getting on their specific bus there should have been monitoring of the students, especially the young children who don’t always stay on their designated path. From the classroom to the bus is a long distance for a young child, they could have had the older child get the younger child and they both get on the bus together if traveling on same bus. I am assuming that this is a grammar school, not a middle school, where close attention should be given to all children. The bus driver should not leave until given the okay by the monitor of the bus children. There’s no mention in article if anyone was in charge of getting the children to their buses. If there wasn’t then that’s a big problem to be addressed.

  • Kg 7 months ago

    In the school i work at kindergarten kids are walked to their buses. All other grades are walked to their buses by teachers or staff. But some kids think they are getting picked up so get in different line and go to different area. Thats when kids get “left” at school. Now our school occasionally would have bus wait or come back to correct situation. However sometimes it couldn’t be fixed and parents would have to pick up. But the child is always supervised by a school staff person.

  • Jonee Munning 7 months ago

    It is a school’s responsibility to make sure each child is where they are supposed to go and whom they are supposed to go with! If the classroom teacher’s class is large then the teacher’s aides assist. Our school, the teachers escort the classes out the door and patiently wait with their class and give direction to their students as to getting on their bus or waiting for the correct person to pick up a student. No matter what the temperature is it what the weather brings! We as parents entrust our schools to give a proper education not only of life and basic requirements of reading writing and math, but also to protect them and keep them safe! This school obviously does not have children’s well being a priority! Shame on them!

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    My child is in 6th grade
    Been in same school since k. There’s always an adult who walks them to the bus and another that walks them outside if there picked up. Usually stands outside for 15min unless cold than school calls. So I blame school for not having a routine.

  • celina M Clark 7 months ago

    She is in kindergarten. My kids bus makes a parent pick them up off the bus until they are on 2nd grade. I’m behind the dad 100% we had this happen wi tryh my daughter last year when she was in kindergarten. Schools need to step up their game a lot more

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    To the person who wrote this comment: they can’t possibly hold every students hand and walk them to the bus. Your kid has to be accountable to pay attention and get on their bus…..well let me tell you..you obviously don’t have kids..so shut the hell up! In this day when there are more child abductions..the school needs to be more accountable. I agree with dad.

  • sheila 7 months ago

    My grandson’s school even when his mom was just starting school, let the kindergarten aged children go first to the bus so they didn’t get knocked around and it helped them learn how to go to the right bus without a lot of confusion. I know teachers have a lot on their schedule but this ten minutes could be the difference between a child being left at school or kidnapped.

  • Darlene Blair Kirksey 7 months ago

    I pick up my grandkids from school every afternoon and all young kids have be signed out by parent or whoever picking them up or teacher or someone has put them on their bus for home or daycare bus. But every child 4-6 someone has make sure they get to where they’re supposed to. My granddaughter is 7 but has autism and in special class and her teacher or the aide walk her to my car everyday and my grandson who is 8 comes by himself but he knows where and that I will always be there

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    I was a teacher’s aide at an elementary school grades K-3 for several years. Just like the teachers, we assisted with bus and car drop off and pick up every day. All grades had an adult walk with them to pickup lines when school was dismissed. Mornings there was always staff waiting to greet children as they were unloaded from buses and parents dropped them off by car. Our system was to ensure that children were safely dropped off and picked up. Buses and cars could not leave until a staff person gave a visual sign that traffic could move forward. I’m not aware of any lost students. We did on occasion have a student that missed a bus because they were ill and weren’t able to go home by bus. In those rare cases, parents were notified and allowed to come pick up there children. On a couple of occasions the principal, guidance counselor, or a teacher were given permission to drive a child home to an adult.

  • Isaac 7 months ago

    Yes ! The school is and should be held accountable.

  • Isaac 7 months ago

    Think about it. What if it were your child ?

  • Nancy 7 months ago

    Parents are 100% correct. I’m impressed with how well they handled it. If you can’t take care of the kids entrusted to you, get another job.

  • theresa 7 months ago

    The school needs to change their policies. All Children should be escorted to the bus after school.
    This dad had/has every right to be upset, this should not be happening.

  • Barbara Hunt 7 months ago

    My understanding is that the school is responsible for your child from the time they leave your home until they return. The bus driver should be responsible that all the children assigned to his bus are on the bus. If one is missing he should check to make sure they were in school that day. The person helping the children on the bus should let the bus driver know who is absent that day.

  • Rhonda Ojeda 7 months ago

    I agree with the parents. This happened to my oldest daughter when she was in kindergarten. She was supposed to be put on the early bus coming home, but the lunch room staff wouldn’t let the students go because they were being to loud. I waited 3 hours for them to bring here home on the next bus. The bus driver was very nice to her, my child was crying by the time she got home.

  • Jean 7 months ago

    That, was horrible..My opinion is the school has uncaring personnel..Why, would any intelligent person have to have written instructions, as to a childs welfare? I would question, their qualifications..Seriously, I would be concerned of the classroom activities…Wouldn’t trust this school at all..

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    I completely agree with the parents! In our school, k-8, the older kids go get the kindergartners from the teacher and walks them to the bus. There is a teacher outside calling into the school which bus is here and the students for that bus is dismissed. If a younger child is being picked up, the teacher waits with them until the parent is seen. Also, the bus can’t leave a child between ages 5-8 at the drop off unless there’s an adult there. The only time my child was left at school was when they had a party that day and we dropped off a slow cooker with caramel topping, her and her older sister thought I was coming back to pick it up and they did not get on the bus. Misinformation on both sides. I didn’t tell them to stay after school and I didn’t tell them to get on the bus, didn’t think I had to but it happened. A teacher called me from her cell phone and I went to get them. No rush, no problem from the teacher. It was a problem that was addressed and resolved quickly and generously.

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    I agree that they should have stopped and the school is responsible. I drive a school bus and they walk the kids to to the buses BUT I average about 72 elementary kids each morning and afternoon and 60 ms/hs students. You would be amazed at how many different schedules you are trying to keep track of ( staying after for different activities”choir,art club, walking club, robotics, tutoring” just to name a few some days they ride one bus and go to mom and other days dads, some days they go home some days they go to day care, some days I’m getting text as we are loading and some on their way home saying I’m late and not going to make it. And there are many options for pick up (bus line, car pick up line, office pick up line and daycare line)for these kids and as younger kids it is confusing sometimes and sometimes they want to stay with their friends and sneak with them especially if they don’t have their normal teacher they do take advantage of that. Unfortunately it Can happen. Sad that is the way it was handled. But she was safe at school all 3 times at least.

  • Penny 7 months ago

    I agree with the parents..as long as they are on school property the school is responsible, this child is 5 years old. There should be a bus monitor out their with those kids and their teachers..do you understand the fear of these parents when they got that call, and this was not an oops this was the 3rd time, and we are living in different days and times now…kids are literally disappearing off the streets in broad daylight..so I feel them. For these of you who disagree, just put yourself in their shoes, and you will be singing another song.

  • Mari 7 months ago

    He is most definitely 1000% correct!!! The schools r responsible for makin sure the kids r safe n get to where they need to go.. Especially the little ones!!!

  • Melanie 7 months ago

    Who else should be responsible for them at school?? The child is 5, not 11 or 12. The fact that this is even up for debate is insane.

  • Nancy 7 months ago

    Kindergarten children aren’t always mature enough to be totally responsible. It is easy for them to get distracted with playing or maybe they fall asleep. A very simple remedy would be to have the lower grades board the bus first with one teacher leading and an assistant remain in the room until All students are accounted for and on the bus. Common sense.

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    The school should definitely be responsible for the younger kids. I wouldn’t K-2nd grade.

  • Rita 7 months ago

    YES! the school is responsible for the child until she gets off that bus at the end of the day at her home! She is young with so many older kids that are in a hurry to also get on the bus these little people(kids) get lost in the shuffle, It was the 3rd time(unacceptable) and for the school official to say “transportation is separate” is the most ignorant comment ever, the school finds that company to do the work for them so guess what its not separate and she is 5!!!!!!! Instead she should have been apologizing.

  • Patty Wachold 7 months ago

    When my son first started kindergarten in Lake Tahoe, at the highest rated public school, the kids wore cardboard signs around their necks, with their name, teacher’s name, and bus number in big red letters on it. They wore these for the first few weeks of school until they could learn which bus to get on. Despite these helpful LARGE signs, 3 TIMES the school put my son on the WRONG bus. The third time, my son TOLD them it was the wrong bus, but instead of using common sense and looking at the sign around his neck, they told him that he was wrong, and still put him on the wrong bus. You just can’t fix stupid. 😡

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    The school is responsible for your child until your child walks thru his/her front door. If they take the school bus. A 5 yr. old should be walked to the bus and made sure she/he gets on.

  • Barbara 7 months ago

    When my daughter was in kindergarten, the church day care van forgot to pick her up three times for after school care and the principal of the elementary school took her to the church day care. That bus only picked up eight children and mine was one of the eight. I remember the principal saying that he did not mind taking her to after school care because they were responsible. This school was responsible for not making sure the child was on the bus. I like the statement, you just can’t fix stupid.

  • S Butterfield 7 months ago

    When five year old children are involved (kindergarten grade) ~ ABSOLUTELY THE SCHOOL SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SEEING CHILDREN OF THAT AGE GET SAFELY ON THEIR CORRECT BUSES❗️
    Safety policies and procedures by this school district should have been put in place long before a third incident ever occurred. Anyone expecting a ‘five year old child’ to be solely responsible for his/her safety is not realistic. I’m not one to pass judgment on another ~ in this instance Gwinnett County, GA, failed❗️ Hmmmm, can’t help but wonder how many other children have experienced this unsettling experience. 😡

  • N Nava 7 months ago

    I agree with this father but also the parents should have a back up plan/person to he called or contacted to be able to pick the child/children up in such cases. But I agree, this isn’t high school. A 5 yo should be escorted/monitored by school adults to get on the right bus or leave with a secure parent approved adult.

  • Me 7 months ago

    Yet people still wonder why i want to homeschool! SMH

  • Melanie 7 months ago

    I am 100% on the parents side. We trust the school officials to take care of and keep our children safe. They failed. Why couldn’t the bus be stopped when the brother noticed his sister wasn’t on it. Why???

  • Diana Mills 7 months ago

    I would go ballistic! Third time! They tell you they are responsible for your children till they get home, they do punish children that do wrong on the way home, doest work just when they want it, they are responsible everytime, we as parents need to volunteer more and be involved, even if they have to take off a half day once a month, with all the pervs out there, it’s just unacceptable!

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    My grandkid’s school teachers accompanied the younger classes to the exit and made sure they were picked up by the proper person or bus. These young ages are not old enough to be on their own.

  • Patty Gatewood 7 months ago

    I agree that the school has responsibility on this. However, if the child’s brother gets on the bus, shouldn’t the bus driver ask where his sister is. If she was in school the bus driver should wait and ask the staff where this child is. We transport children for our after school program and if a child does not get on our bus we ask the school staff to check for them.

    • Mommy C 7 months ago

      Patty Gatewood, The driver didn’t have to ask, the brother screamed and cried and begged him to let him off the bus to find his sister because that’s what his parents told him to do. The driver should have STOPPED the bus and NOT left until the principal came out and the driver explained what he was being told by the older brother, and let the principal find her. He should have NEVER listened to the teacher and left when they said to leave anyways. This is a sad story and could have ended very badly. When my kids were in elementary (It was a K-5 school), their school had a few systems that were awesome and always worked as far as I know (I was on the PTA so would know if a child was ever missing), but the first thing they did was if there was an older sibling at the same school, they were allowed to leave their class 5-10 minutes early to go to their younger siblings classroom to pick them up.
      The second one (which everyone absolutely loved) was they started a program they called “the Big Buddy System” (that the kids eventually renamed amongst themselves and called it the “Big Sister/Big Brother System lol) but They assigned each 5th grade student a kindergarten “Buddy” that they would be responsible for (for the entire year), to pick up from their classroom and walk them to either their bus or their parent, or whoever was there to pick them up. They also were assigned to show the kindergarteners around the school, like where all the restrooms were, where the office and gym were, made sure they got breakfast and lunch everyday, etc. The 5th grade students ABSOLUTELY LOVED this program and they took it VERY seriously. It made them feel older and helped them all act VERY responsible, and these kids made it their mission to make sure that their “younger sibling” they were assigned to, never had anything to worry about. Not only did it make the kindergarteners feel safer, it also made the parents much more comfortable knowing an older student was always looking out for their kids, and they all made new friends all around. They also would occasionally join the 5th grade and kindergarten class together (with their buddies) to watch movies or just have free time to spend with their “Older/Younger Buddy” to get to know them, just play and hang out, and sometimes the older ones even helped the younger ones with homework or classwork or just tutoring them if they needed it. It is an awesome program. The third thing was the 5th grade students picking up their “buddies” and ALL of the bus riders were let out of school 5-10 minutes earlier than the walkers so there wasn’t kids running in every other direction. These three things together made their school a one of a kind school. And all of the teachers went above and beyond to make sure the students were safe and happy and learning.

      • Mommy C 7 months ago

        The 5th grade students were also rewarded for their efforts in the program and would get treated to a pizza party, an ice cream party and a ribbon or certificate of some kind, so the teachers could show their appreciation for the students doing a great job with the younger kids coming in for the first year.

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    I worked at two elementary schools for 27 years and the kindergarten teachers walked the kindergarten students to the bus and the bus drivers checked in the students to make sure everyone that rode the bus that morning was on the bus

  • Teresa C Lewis 7 months ago

    Absolutely the school is accountable. This is a five year old child. A mistake/mishap one time is frightening; three times…that is negligence on the part of the school. Totally unacceptable!

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    3 strikes are rediculous. This child and their brother should not be put through this with the child trafficking going on these days and anyone blaming the child is a potential pedophile. Wake up people.

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    NO need for the ugly language I would have called the police on them.

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    Absolutely! In our public schools in New Haven, CT smaller children who are in Kindergarten are ages 4-5 and 5-6. They are the first ones on the bus and escorted by a teacher or teacher’s aide. The children wear a tag with their bus # the responsibility is from the school and then the bus company if a child is left on the bus. It’s about organizing a proper system. Smaller children are on the bus first and thrn the next grade goes on and so forth.

  • Beverly 7 months ago

    I drove that big yellow bus for forty years and never lost a child, for the first thing a head count should have been in place and if one was missing some school official should have known about it and report to driver so as not to leave any child, when her brother sound the alarm his sister was missing every one should have been on this. I would not have left without this child, especially a 5 yr. Old these are the ones you have to be question about. Yes ma’am heads should roll you are responsible for these kids from the time you pick them up until you bring them back home, my job would have been on the line, problem today all drives and teachers in for pay check you got to love what you do. Driver from Newberry County Schools.

  • V 7 months ago

    I am disable retired. When I was employed by Board of Ed Transportation for 15 years, once the kids step foot off the bus, employees of the school are officially responsible for every child. Drivers have no idea at the end of the day if every student in school are still there. Kids get sick and go home with parents, or stay waitng to be picked up by a parent. Bus drivers have no way of knowing this, so there is no way they would know if they have every student. Another point I would like to stress is, the teachers or an assigned official within the school at the time of dismissal have always lined the young kids up and escorted them to their bus. The school officials are totally wrong and should be held responsible and not pass the blame and irresponsibility onto the transportation employees.

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    Absolutely !! Plus the boy told them and the driver refused to stop or wait !

  • Trisha 7 months ago

    You have every right to be upset. The teachers are responsible for the children until they reach their home. It’s always been that way where I live

  • Cat 7 months ago

    Yes School is responsible for Students Safety and should have adults monitoring transfers to buses. No child left behind….

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Dad Angrily Confronts School Officials After His 5-Year-Old Is Left Behind at School for the Third Time

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