Parents upset about misplaced child
When the school bus pulled up Tuesday afternoon and Falon Krause's son was not on it, she felt sick to her stomach. And while 5-year-old Tristan Krause was eventually found safe on another bus, Krause hasn't heard much in the days since to make her feel much better.
She wants to know how Shannon Park Elementary School essentially misplaced her son for the duration of a five-hour summer school session.
The basics of Tristan Krause's school day are pretty simple. Krause put her son on the bus Tuesday morning for his first day of a pre-kindergarten summer session, but when he got to school, Tristan followed another student into a third grade classroom. He put on a name tag that belonged to a student named Christian, and that's where he stayed for the rest of the day.
"It was a huge comedy of errors," Krause said. "My son went all day being a third grader."
Krause isn't sure how that could happen. Tristan's name was on a bright yellow tag on the book bag, one of the rules of the summer program.
Krause said the third grade teacher noticed Tristan was having trouble doing some of the assignments other students were working on, but when she asked the administrator in charge of the summer program about the student, she reportedly suggested Tristan might be developmentally disabled.
He was also smaller than the other boys in the third grade class.
"He's tall for his age, but he's not that tall," Krause said. "He has a Toy Story book bag. What 9-year-old walks around with a Toy Story book bag?"
Tristan's kindergarten teacher marked him absent, but Krause said nobody from the school called her or her husband to ask why he wasn't there.
When the school day ended, staff members at Shannon Park put Tristan on the bus Christian would have taken had he shown up for school, rather than his own.
"I was waiting for him to get off the bus and he wasn't there," Krause said. "His teacher was on the bus and said he wasn't in class. I almost threw up."
The district's transportation department was able to locate Tristan before he got off the bus he was riding, but that hasn't done much to put Krause's mind at ease.
"What I couldn't get over yesterday and is shaking me to the core is, what if he had gotten off the bus?" Krause said. "You're supposed to be able to trust your kids going to school and getting there and coming back home."
Rosemount Elementary School principal Tom Idstrom, who is working with Shannon Park on the cooperative summer school program but wasn't the administrator directly overseeing activities last week, said little about the specifics of the situation beyond accepting responsibility.
"It was a misidentity. It was our fault and there is nothing we can do at this point but to apologize about the situation," Idstrom said. "Ultimately, he was safe during the day. He didn't get off the bus until he got to his stop. I've been in contact with the parents and the staff members to assure it won't happen again."
Idstrom said there will be new efforts to avoid similar situations.
"There's clarity in the processes that must be followed," he said. "We want to provide an opportunity where students feel safe and students are learning. That's our goal and that will continue to be our goal."