Two Longview ISD 4-year-olds’ parents spent Thursday afternoon trying to locate their children after a bus mix-up.

Madison Stowe called the News-Journal about 4 p.m. Thursday and said her child, Carter, and her neighbor’s child were misplaced and did not get off the bus. Stowe said she called the district and Longview police.

The students attend East Texas Montessori Prep Academy.

District spokeswoman Elizabeth Ross said she spoke to the transportation director, Dale Bohannon, and was told it was possible the children’s bus tags came off their backpacks and the driver did not know where to take the children.

Ross said, instead of risking dropping off the children at the wrong place, the driver finished the route and returned the children to the bus barn around 5:15 p.m., where the children were returned to their parents.

Bus drivers cannot search children’s bags for their bus tag, Ross said. She said that only an administrator can search a bag, except in the case of a safety concern such as a gun or drugs.

Ross said when something like a misplaced child happens, the district tries to find what bus a child is on and get in touch with the driver to see where they are.

“Your kids are a part of you, and if that part of you is missing for five minutes, you feel like your world shuts down,” Ross said. “We are so sorry for the fear, concern and stress that these families had.”