Chattanooga: Eighth grader left at Dollywood during school trip

Chattanooga: Eighth grader left at Dollywood during school trip

May 22nd, 2009 by Adam Crisp in Local Regional News

Some Hamilton County teachers are under school investigation after an eighth grader was left behind on a class field trip to Dollywood.

It happened Wednesday, and Hixson Middle School officials were oblivious to the oversight until Thursday morning, said District 3 school board member Everett Fairchild.

No one knew about the situation until the boy's parents came to the school and alerted administrators to the oversight.

"We have policies and procedures in place to prevent something like this from happening," said system spokeswoman Danielle Clarke. "Obviously, those procedures weren't followed fully in this situation."

Three teachers on the bus are being investigated, Ms. Clarke said, and could face disciplinary actions.

Chaperones and teachers are supposed to follow three steps when loading a bus: counting heads, calling roll and making eye contact with every student that is supposed to be aboard the bus.

The student was late for the bus and when he returned, it had already departed, so he called his parents on a cell phone, Ms. Clarke said. They told him to alert park security then drove to the Pigeon Forge, Tenn. theme park to pick him up, she said.

"We can't go back and change it, but we can make sure this doesn't happen again," Ms. Clark said.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.