We expect the beginning of the school year to be hectic, but Portland’s East End Community School is taking it to a new level.

Twice in the brand-new year, children who were supposed to be headed to an after-school program inside the school building were instead hustled onto a bus and dropped off in front of empty houses.

According to news reports, a 6-year-old was stranded outside his home for two hours in the rain before a neighbor picked him up.

On Friday, an 8-year-old was dropped off at home, and because she couldn’t get in, tried to walk back to school. She was picked up by another parent who brought her inside.

East End Principal Marcia Gendron said that additional steps were being taken to reinforce the “checks and balances” to make sure the right students are headed in the right direction, as she should. Every school should be taking special care, especially in the younger grades where the students themselves may not be the best source of information.

Clearly, one thing that should improve is communication between the different caregivers, since before- and after-school programs are run by outside agencies, even when they are in the school building. Schools like East End, which has received federal grant money to extend the school day with special programs, should be on top of communicating with the various entities that will be providing those services.

The stakes are too high to tolerate this kind of miscommunication. No matter how new these programs are, last week’s reports of mistakenly transported students should be the last.

Parents and the community have a right to expect more.