CHICAGO (CBS) — Competition, camaraderie, inclusion — that’s what the Special Olympics are all about.
Jack is one of nearly 4,000 Chicago student-athletes who took part in the annual games earlier this week. He even took third place is Friday’s long jump.
“He looks forward to it every year,” Jack’s mother Amy said.
But, Jack can’t win if he can’t compete.
“I only did the long jump. I didn’t do the meter run,” Jack said.
The reason he missed the 50-meter dash was because Thursday morning, Jack and his classmates waited outside O.A. Thorp Elementary, but their ride never arrived.
“They were waiting and waiting and waiting,” Jack’s mother said.
Chicago Public Schools said they ordered over 100 buses to take students to Eckersall Stadium Thursday, the site for the games.
But, 12 buses never showed, meaning eight schools never made it.
Jack said he and his classmates “felt upset and some of them felt unhappy”.
“That shouldn’t have happened,” his mother said.
In a statement, CPS spokesperson Emily Bolton said, “The district regrets this unacceptable error, and we apologize to all of the student-athletes affected by this incident.”
CPS wouldn’t say which schools were affected or how many students were left out but blames the issue on miscommunication between CPS and their bus company, First Student.
Christine Palmieri helped create Chicago’s Special Education Parents Advocacy Committee.
“It was really upsetting,” she said. “What is CPS going to do to hold [First Student] accountable moving forward?”
First Student has not responded to CBS 2’s messages. Parents say the company claims some of the paperwork was lost.
Meanwhile, CPS says they’ll be conducting a full review of what went wrong to ensure it doesn’t happen again.