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June 09, 2011  |   Comments (5)   |   Post a comment

Driver fired after boy is left on bus


MANCHESTER, Pa. — A 7-year-old student was stranded on his school bus for more than five hours on Monday, and the driver of the bus was fired as a result.

The Northeastern School District first-grader fell asleep on the bus and didn’t get off at his school in Elizabethtown. Officials said that the driver returned the bus to its designated parking spot in Manchester but did not complete the mandatory bus check.

“When the bus driver came back to the bus to start the afternoon route at approximately 1:30 p.m., the driver found the student inside the bus and immediately notified the district’s bus contractor, F&S Transportation,” district officials said in a statement. “F&S Transportation contacted the student’s parents and called the school district.”

Police were contacted to investigate the incident. According to press reports, authorities don’t intend to file charges. However, the driver was terminated by F&S.

The contractor reported to the district that it will implement electronic child-reminder systems, which require drivers to walk to the back of the bus to disengage them, for the start of the 2011-12 school year. F&S also reported that it would be reviewing the mandatory bus-check procedures with all of its bus drivers.

“The Northeastern School District recognizes the seriousness of the incident,” the district statement said. “Therefore, we are currently reviewing our transportation and attendance procedures to ensure the safety of every student.”

The district said that the boy has returned to school and that “the district is offering support to the family and the student.”

WHTM reported that the 7-year-old wrote a note to his parents while he was stranded on the bus.

“You are probably sad," the boy wrote. "I was on the bus all day long with nobody."


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Read more about: post-trip child check

The Child Check system is a wonderful tool. However, it is up to the individual to ensure they are concentrating on the task at hand. What I mean by this is that no matter how great the system is and the procedures are, the drivers must dismiss ALL distractions while performing that search. If this is not embedded in the core of our drivers, we will still leave children behind eventhough they state they checked...the children become invisible.

Cynthia    |    Jun 16, 2011 07:55 AM

While it is inexcusable on the driver's part, doesn't the school have a policy to check on absent students that have not been called in by the parents? Once attendance has been turned in at the office, someone should have caught the discrepency well before five hours had passed and investigated whether or not the student had gotten on the bus in the morning.

Robbin Pierce    |    Jun 10, 2011 05:54 AM

At this point and time one must be looking at not only the bus driver, but the bus company's policy for preventing this to happen. Why does the company not require a driver to do a walk thru when unloaded at the school and then again in the yard? And why have they not implemented the "Bus Empty" sign to be placed in the back window? It is time for everyone to step up to the plate. It would have been a lot cheaper for the company to have the "Bus Empty" sign procedure in place than now installing the child check button in the back. Drivers!! We are professionals. When the last child is off, whether at the school or at the end of the route. You need to do a walk thru. Then. And do it again at the yard. Yes twice. You need to do it right. Make sure you look under the seats. Also, if you do a walk thru at the school and a child has left their lunch behind. You have insured they aren't hungry all day. We need to go above and beyond. We do carry the most precious cargo of all transportation companies.

John Moran    |    Jun 10, 2011 02:09 AM

Continued from below: The Mrs. and myself plan to visit facilities around the country while visiting family wherever we happen to be, equipped with a cozy fully self-contained travel trailer, including TV and WEB reception. Have family in virtually every state in our nation. Arizona seems may be first on the list early next year. Hello Arizona. ~ James Kraemer,

jkraemer    |    Jun 09, 2011 07:13 PM

Very sad to read these stories of a child left sleeping in one of safest places on the planet ... the actual school bus. The bus driver exclusively blamed and fired? Sleepers at all grade levels are happening much more often these days than when I first began driving school bus. In those earlier years when a child was found sleeping it was considered a violation. Both the old timer drivers, schools and most parents felt it important children get a good nights rest, to be ready for classes and awake during the bus ride. Too many sleeping violations in class or on the bus was considered serious enough to warn the parents of the child’s suspension from school if not corrected. The past two years and seems almost every day I found a sleeper on the bus. All grade levels are now presenting this anomaly, not just the littler riders. I see this issue as well beyond just the bus driver, most especially when a child is left sleeping on the bus for more than a half-hour or so. "... more than five hours" undiscovered is pretty outrageous, in my opinion, a breakdown in security that goes well beyond the bus driver. Over 21-years driving school bus at all grade levels, did not miss a sleeping child in all those years. Regardless, I would not consider myself somehow better than most those 105,000 school bus drivers that did miss a sleeper on board over those same years. I'm now officially retired from school bus driving, one of the motivations was the constant disregard toward the decent treatment of school bus drivers in this country, once a noble profession reduced at too many facilities to liken teachers in the classroom these days -- overrun by mollycoddlers and hostile adults. Will miss the kids, especially those clever middle school age children, but will not miss some of the adults, and always ready to help defend my fellows both locally and national from the hostile. The Mrs. and myself plan to visit facilities around the country while visiting family wherever we happen

jkraemer    |    Jun 09, 2011 07:05 PM

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