POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Charges of neglect against a school bus driver and attendant here who allegedly left a studentwith special needs on a school bus twice have been dropped, ABC Action News reports.
As SBF previously reported, on two occasions that occurred within a week of each other, a 13-year-old boy fell asleep on the bus when other students were dropped off at school, and then was left alone on the bus after it was parked. Police said that the attendant, Gwendolyn Simmons, and the driver, Gale Brown, failed to notice the boy and to ensure that the bus was empty before they left the bus. Both women admitted to having a student deactivate the child reminder device on the bus before they arrived at school on both occasions. In both incidents, when the boy woke up, he escaped the bus and hitchhiked and walked about 30 miles to his home.
State attorney Jerry Hill announced the decision in a court filing, and said that “the facts in this case, while concerning, do not rise to the level of felony neglect of a child,” according to ABC Action News.
Simmons and her attorney told the news source that they believe the charges were dropped because the boy “intentionally hid” from the driver and the aide so he could skip school.
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