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Youngster praised for helping lost boy

December 06, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Christian Staley is being praised for helping a 6-year-old boy who got off at the wrong bus stop last month.

Christian, 9, who attends Bester Elementary School in Hagerstown, said he was walking home from school on Nov. 16 when he found the boy at the corner of Frederick and Mulberry streets -- about a mile from the boy's bus stop near Fairgrounds Park.

"I saw the little boy crying," Christian said. "He was dragging his book bag. I asked him what was the matter and he told me he was lost."

Christian said he believed that the boy lived nearby, but when he discovered that wasn't the case, he took the child to the staff at Bester Elementary.

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As a result of Christian's actions, the boy was reunited with his mother about an hour after he was reported missing.

Christian's mother, Leigh Ann Twigg, said the principal at Bester Elementary called her shortly after the incident to praise Christian.

"If he hadn't found that little boy and took him to the school, who knows what would have happened?" Twigg said. "I can't believe he walked all that way and nobody tried to help him ... (Christian) was in the right spot at the right time. I'm glad he had enough sense to know that the little boy needed help."

Christian said he received several awards from the school and was recognized for his actions during morning announcements.

"Ever since I did that, people treat me nicer than they usually do," he said.

At about 3:40 p.m. Nov. 16, the Hagerstown Police Department reported that a 6-year old boy had gotten off at the wrong bus stop at Wayside and North Locust avenues.

Richard Wright, spokesman for Washington County Public Schools, said shortly after the incident that the boy, who was a student at Potomac Heights Elementary School, got off the bus one stop ahead of his scheduled drop-off.

The boy was a new student, Wright said, but "the driver of the bus was not adequately notified of the new rider. As a result, the student got off the bus with a group of students."

Schools, bus drivers, Central Office personnel, transportation supervisors and other necessary staff are "alerted and dispatched to investigate" when a child has been reported missing, Wright said. In some cases, law enforcement is asked to assist.

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said a police report was not done because the boy was found.

Christian's 6-year-old brother, Andrew Staley, said Christian makes him feel safe when they walk to school together.

"He looks out for me," Andrew said. "He's a hero -- like Superman or Batman and Robin."

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