WAREHAM (CBS) – The mother of a Wareham kindergartner is speaking out after her five year old son was forgotten and left alone on a school bus for three hours on Tuesday.
The mother, who prefers her name not be used, says she had no idea her son was not at school until he arrived home at drop-off and told her what happened.
“It was a really stupid mistake. She (the bus driver) wasn’t trying to hurt him and didn’t mean to put him in danger, but she didn’t do her job,” said the mother.
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports
The little boy was picked up in the morning, but the driver didn’t notice him on the bus when she returned home and parked the vehicle in the driveway. The mother says the five year old woke up but was too afraid to say anything.
“She drove to her house and the whole time he was trying to get up the courage to say he was there, but didn’t do it,” she said. The driver didn’t notice until she returned to the bus for pick-up and then brought the boy home. “What if he got off the bus, what if he had wandered off,” she said.
Just last week in Dorchester, a 17 month old boy was left in a hot school van and died. This mother says she’s grateful it was a cooler day on Tuesday with her son in the bus and the windows closed.
“I think about what could have happened, the more upset I get,” she said. Superintendent of schools, Dr. Barry Rabinovitch, says all Wareham schools will now be required to call the home of an absent child if a parent has not been in contact about the absence.
He says the driver in this case did not follow a safety protocol that requires them to check the length of the bus at the end of a run, and place an “empty” sign on the rear door. At a school committee meeting this week he apologized to the family of the five year old. “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,” he said. He says bus drivers receive yearly training in safety protocols, and will be instructed about checking buses during another training session that will take place next week.