Child with autism dropped off at wrong bus stop, found wandering East Boston streets

BOSTON — An East Boston mother is demanding answers after she says her 11-year-old daughter was dropped off at the wrong bus stop.

Elizabeth Montanez’s daughter Olivia has autism and is an individualized education program, which requires door-to-door bus service.

Montanez told Boston 25 News she was left confused and concerned on Tuesday when her child was supposed to be getting home from school.

She said the bus driver honked outside Montanez’s East Boston home and told her that Olivia had been dropped off at another student’s house.

“We’re dealing with children with special needs on this bus,” said Montanez.  “Don’t just sit there and let a child off a bus without confirming that this is their stop.”

Montanez said she alerted the Boston Public School district and Boston Police.

She said her 5th-grade daughter was not with the classmate who she was dropped off with and was missing for about two and a half hours.

Her nephews eventually found Olivia alone in the dark near a busy row of businesses close to the Sumner Tunnel about a half mile from the family’s East Boston home.

“As a mother, I should feel safe putting my child on that bus and knowing she’s getting to and from school with no issues,” she said. “I shouldn’t be sitting there wondering where my child is for two and a half hours.”

Montanez said she was especially concerned because Olivia has a sensory progressive disorder and is triggered by loud noises.

“If a truck would’ve beeped, there’s a good chance my child would have hidden on us, and we never would’ve found her,” she explained.

The Boston Public School district released the following statement to Boston 25 News:

“The safety and well-being of our students and staff are of the utmost importance at Boston Public Schools. The district is committed to working directly with affected families to resolve any issues as they arise. We take all incidents of this nature very seriously and we are investigating to help prevent incidents like these from happening in the future.”

A district spokesperson said the BPS Transportation Operations team immediately responds any time a student is reported as potentially missing.

A representative with Olivia’s school, Harvard-Kent in Charlestown, has been accompanying Olivia on the bus since the incident.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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