On the front lawn of Sunnyside Elementary, the sign says, "Children First."
Teresa McKelvy, however, looks at the school with a cynical set of eyes after the harrowing end to her son’s first day of school.
Tyson McKelvy, 6, got on the bus at the end of the day, but it took a jaw-dropping route to get him home. The boy's bus dropped the first grader off at the wrong stop and left him. It happened to be the first time the boy had been on a school bus.
"I just got lost accidentally," the boy said Wednesday. "Somebody take me home."
"A stranger. That’s what he called her: ‘a stranger.’ Had to bring him home," his mother said in disbelief. "She had some children that were getting off at the bus stop. So, when my son started screaming, she found out his name. She called the school and asked them should she bring him to school…. They told her no. They gave her my home address and told her to bring him home."
McKelvy said she recognizes first days come with chaos. But she said she is angry his school could have endangered him.
"This is really sitting uneasy with me… There are a lot of sex offenders right here in Berkeley and one of them easily could have grabbed my son instead of this loving person," she said.
NBC Chicago reached out to the principal of Sunnyside, the school superintendent of Berkeley School District 87 and the district’s bus supervisor. None of them returned our phone calls seeking comment.
A representative of the Cincinnati, Ohio based bus company, which transports students in the district, confirms the incident took place, but noted the school district failed to provide their drivers with a list of students and their corresponding stops.
Meantime, Teresa McKelvy hopes the stranger who returned her son reaches out to her, so that she can personally thank the woman.
"I’m very grateful that the right person found my son and brought him home safely, but this could have ended very badly," she said.