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Chattanooga school investigating how boy got off at wrong bus stop

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Tense moments for one Chattanooga mother when she realized her 5 year old son was not on the school bus that was supposed to drop him off.

It happened around 3:00 Tuesday afternoon. We’re told the student at Orchard Knob Elementary School was supposed to get off at his stop on Vance Avenue, but that didn’t happen.

The boy is safe and with his family tonight.

A Chattanooga family wants to know how their 5 year old was dropped off Tuesday at the wrong bus stop.

“I was a nervous wreck because I know he’s nothing but a little bitty baby,” the boy’s aunt Lynn Pierce said.

Channel 3 was there as Montayo Pritchett, 5, began to cry as he was reunited with his family outside Orchard Knob Elementary School.

Friends, family and Chattanooga Police searched for two hours before the child was brought back to the school.

“Usually when they’re that young, we get everyone possible in the area to come and look for the child,” Chattanooga Police Officer Christopher Grafe said.

School leaders tell Channel 3 to ensure safety, they require a parent to be waiting at bus stops to pick up young riders.

But somehow Montayo didn’t get off at his normal stop on Vance Avenue. Instead, he got off on Dodds Avenue.

Leaders are still trying to figure out how that happened.

“They get a little upset when they don’t see their parents when they get off the bus,” Pierce said.

When the boy’s mother realized he wasn’t on the bus, she called police who arrived within minutes.

“Normally we go from the school to where he was supposed to be going and his normal bus stop that he’s usually at. We had the officers canvass that area,” Grafe added.

For now, this family is glad to be reunited and thankful for the quick-thinking from the community.

A couple of tips to prevent things like this from happening: Create a buddy system with other children your child goes to school with. That will help make sure they all come home together the same way at the end of the day.

Practice the route your child takes to school, it helps your child become familiar with the route and feel comfortable.

If there is a change with how your child is getting home from school, make sure you discuss it with them beforehand as well as their teacher.

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