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Parents mad after child exits Chesterfield bus, ends up with stranger

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Posted at 6:30 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 11:40:33-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A major mishap on his daughter’s school bus has Ronnie Bradburn and his family shaken up.

“It is heartbreaking. It’s the worst feeling in the world, it really is," the Chesterfield man said.

He reached out to CBS 6 News this week when 5-year-old Anaiah found herself in the custody of a complete stranger.

Bradburn said she was mistakenly allowed to ride the school bus home from Chalkley Elementary, despite a note they had recently sent.

Ronnie Bradburn said it was the worse feeling in the world.

Ronnie Bradburn said it was the worse feeling in the world.

He explained that his girlfriend, the child’s mom, called the school to inform them and even sent a note Friday.

He said the note gave specific instructions which explained Anaiah would no longer be riding the bus after school. She would be picked up every day at school by the couple’s babysitter.

Bradburn said that didn't happen on Monday, though. Anaiah got on the bus after school and when it stopped in their apartment complex, she got off of the bus.

Bradburn said he spoke with a school representative, someone from transportation and the bus driver who was on duty that afternoon.

“The bus driver said she didn't even see her get off the bus,” Bradburn explained.

Anaiah was kept safe by a stranger

Anaiah was kept safe by a stranger

He said he was worried sick because no one was at their home and the babysitter had actually gone to Chalkley Elementary to pick up the child.

“My biggest concern is--what if?,” he said. “What if the lady wasn't there and it was some other stranger who's out there to get children? I know that there are people out there like that,” the Chesterfield dad said.

Chesterfield County Public Schools Spokesperson Shawn Smith told CBS 6 News that protocol dictates pre-school, Head Start and kindergarten students should only be allowed off of the bus with a guardian or older sibling present.

He further explained that otherwise, the bus driver is required to return the child to school.

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"The safety of our students is a top priority,” Smith said. “The school division has been in contact with the family and the issue has been resolved."

Bradburn said he’s still uneasy with the way things happened.

“I feel like they're not going to do anything about it and its going to happen again and again,” he said. “Changes need to be made.”

He and the child’s mother said they are grateful that the neighbor stayed with Anaiah on their front porch until the babysitter returned from the school.Bradburn said they’d love to meet the neighbor in person to say thank you for keeping their little one safe.

Bradburn said they’d love to meet the neighbor in person to say thank you for keeping their little one safe.