Driver Fired After 5-Year-Old Left On School Bus

LOWELL (CBS) – A five-year-old with special needs was forgotten on a school bus for most of the school day. Wednesday night, the state was investigating how it happened.

“There’s just no tolerance for incidents like this,” said Lowell Mayor and School Board Chairman Ed Kennedy.

Ed Kennedy was talking about a five-year old left stranded on a hot school bus. The kindergarten student with special needs was on a smaller bus for five hours before he was discovered.

Parents we spoke to were in disbelief.

“That’s not OK at all I would be furious,” said Amanda Proula, concerned parent.

The child was on the bus to McAvinnue Elementary on Monday, when temperatures climbed into the 80’s. He was on that bus until he was discovered at one in the afternoon when the driver got back on.

“I think they would be more aware of that I don’t know how that could happen,” said Robert Elliott a concerned parent.

The school district said cameras on the bus show the driver did not follow protocol and failed to check for students who didn’t get off. “There’s no need for this, it’s simple just go and check the back of the bus,” said Kennedy.

The driver worked for SP&R Transportation out of Dracut. He was immediately fired.

“I couldn’t imagine what the parents are feeling. I know how I would be feeling. I would be quite irate,” said parent Mike Proula.

The school nurse checked out the boy. His mom also took him to the doctor. Kennedy says the child is thankfully fine.

“It turned out OK, but nevertheless, incidents like this shouldn’t happen,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy said the school followed protocol by calling the boy’s parents when he did not show up for school, and when they did not hear back they assumed the child is with his parents.

The school committee will take another look at the contract with the bus company at their meeting next week. SP&R Transportation said they had no comment.

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