A second grader in Panama City, Fla., who never showed up for class was later discovered sleeping on the school bus, where he had apparently been left alone for hours. Now, the driver who found him — and overlooked him in the first place — has been suspended with pay.
The driver noticed the slumbering student when he boarded the school bus for his late shift at about 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Panama City News Herald. He had dropped off all of the other passengers at school that morning but apparently didn’t notice the he’d left one behind. According to the protocol of Bay District Schools, drivers must conduct a seat-by-seat check of the bus at the end of every route to prevent situations like this.
But apparently the child never got off the bus, and it’s unknown whether the check was even performed. Now, the Department of Children and Families and law enforcement officials are conducting a full investigation.
“Words cannot express how sorry I am that something like this happened,” Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt told the News Herald. “I simply cannot imagine how this little boy’s mom felt when she got that call, and I just can’t excuse something like this. What I can tell you is that this is an isolated incident, which doesn’t make it any less awful, and I can tell you that our bus drivers work very hard each day to take care of our children, but this is simply inexcusable.”
Despite the scare, the child is safe at home with family now. The school is waiting on the results of the investigation before taking disciplinary action, but according to the News Herald, the unidentified driver could be terminated.
Yahoo Lifestyle has contacted Bay District Schools for an update on the incident.
Unfortunately, the second grader wasn’t the only child who was forgotten on a school bus this week. A 5-year-old kindergartner was left on a freezing-cold school bus in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday, according to Philadelphia’s NBC 10. The boy said he was “very scared” to be alone on the bus for seven hours while his classmates had all been dropped off at Linden Hill Elementary School.
The boy, Ibn Polk, had also fallen asleep on the bus when he was left behind, and he also was discovered by the driver when she was doing her afternoon rounds.
“She could have came back to the bus,” the boy’s father, Abdul Polk, told NBC 10, adding that Ibn was soaking wet when he got home and had urinated on himself. “What, you want a dead child now? It was cold. It was freezing.”
The boy is reportedly doing well at home, and the incident is under investigation. A spokesperson for the bus company that employed the driver confirmed she has been terminated.
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