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Dropped off far from home by bus driver, Tampa girl runs home terrified, crying


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Charlene Hummel says it isn’t easy raising three children. She worries about them all the time. In fact, she’s a self-described helicopter parent.

A parent now in shock.

“My kids don’t go anywhere without me knowing,” Charlene told 8 on your Side. “They take their phones to school. I tell them I want to know where they are, what they’re doing.”

Charlene says she still can’t believe what took place Monday afternoon on the first day of summer school for 14-year-old Savannah who attends Greco Middle School in Tampa.

She was dropped off at the wrong stop, more than a half mile from home at Hyaleah and Connechutsett, not far from 50th Street.

“She’s dropped off. She has no idea where she is. She doesn’t know which way to go. She doesn’t know her way home. We’ve taught her not to go up to people she doesn’t know,” said Charlene.

So, how did this happen? Charlene shook her head with a sigh, frustrated over the situation, explaining that Savannah was traumatized.

Charlene says she began watching the clock Monday, waiting for Savannah to come home from school. When the teen was well over a half hour late, the Tampa mom panicked. She was on her way out the door, ready to call police when Savannah came running up the driveway terrified and crying. 

“She didn’t talk to me for a minute or two, she hugged me, Charlene told us. “This could have happened to anyone’s child. I don’t want this to happen to my child or anyone else’s.”

Charlene says she called Greco Middle School, the Hillsborough Schools transportation Department, then called 8 on your Side. 

“That whole on your side, that kind of sticks with me. 8 on your Side. I’m going to call News Channel 8,” said Charlene.

8 on your Side began asking questions and getting answers.

We found out from the school district that Savannah was a new student and not on a current passenger list. According to school leaders, the system was down, and a new list could not be printed.

The district says the bus driver was actually trying to help the student by not leaving her alone on campus, and instead, asking her where she lived, so she could be brought home.

Charlene maintains that’s not true and is planning to speak directly to school leaders at an upcoming board meeting on June 25th. She says Savannah told her that the bus driver was informed of the exact stop where the teen should be dropped off Monday afternoon.

“I’m not expecting anyone to get terminated,” said understand nothing egregious happened, but does something have to happen before they do something.”

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