Wareham Bus Driver Fired After Leaving Sleeping Child On Bus

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – A Wareham bus driver has been fired after leaving a sleeping kindergartner on the bus Tuesday morning. According to Superintendent Barry Rabinovitch, the child was not dropped off with other students at the Hammond Elementary School, but was left in the bus when it was taken to the driver’s house and parked for at least three hours.

Dr. Rabinovitch says the driver did not follow protocol which includes checking to make sure the bus is empty and then placing an “empty” sign on the rear door. The child was later dropped home on the mid-day bus route and told his parent what had occurred.

When the parent contacted the school, the superintendent says an investigation began. Part of the confusion, he says, was that the parent had contacted the school saying the child wouldn’t be in attendance that day. The school was unaware the family’s plans had changed.

Watch the Superintendent’s comments

He says all Wareham school principals are being told to institute a system to call the home of any absent child to prevent this from happening again. All bus drivers undergo mandatory safety training each year, including student check protocols.

The incident will be addressed during a training session next week with bus drivers. The superintendent apologized to the boy’s family during a school committee meeting Wednesday night.

“To the parent of the student involved we are extremely sorry this occurred, and we have taken the appropriate actions to try to prevent this from occurring again,” said Dr. Rabinovitch.

  • Jennifer

    I am the mother of the child left on the bus. I need to make a correction here. The bus driver NEVER told me that she left him on the bus. He told me. Also, I emailed his teacher early Monday morning to tell her that he was sick and would not be in because he was ill and likely would not be in Tuesday because I thought he was coming down with the virus his brother had. I TRIED to call the front office to tell them that he would not be in Monday but the fax kept picking it up even though it was not the fax number. I then emailed her Tuesday morning to tell her that he was coming in because he was feeling better. She may not have read the email until later. I agree, that may have caused confusion. However, I never called in Tuesday to say that he would not be in. I am just thankful that my child is not harmed. It could have had a tragic outcome.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s a tragedy the Wareham school district is losing a seasoned driver because of this matter. I know it’s a very serious situation and could have had a very different outcome. I feel where the child was on the bus while the driver was getting the bus worked on and getting gas then at home for maybe a hour, it’s a lot better than the child being found wondering the neighborhood like I know was a situation with another driver. Who still drives for Wareham school district. Funny how that played out??

  • Jennifer

    Anonymous, I am wondering how you know how long the bus was at the bus depot? My understanding was that she serviced the bus right after she dropped off the other children and then parked it in her yard. It was only a head light. I am fairly certain that he was parked in her yard far longer than an hour. She made the same exact mistake as the man that drove the van that the little boy in Dorchester died in. Same mistake with a lucky outcome. She was terminated for the mistake, and was simply fortunate that it was cool out that day and the child didn’t wander away.. You would think a seasoned bus driver would check her bus for chldren, especially when she drives kindergarteners. It is a shame that she didn’t check properly, because I think she is nice person. I would never feel comfortable entrusting my children to her again. I hightly doubt that she checked every day but this one. The fact is that this could have cost me my child. If another child was left wandering by another bus driver, I would hope that it was reported, because that is no less scary than what happened to my child.

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