Mom of a 5-Year-Old Left on School Bus for Hours Has a PSA for Parents
A mom in southern Illinois took to Twitter to share the upsetting story of her 5-year-old daughter being left on the school bus for three hours on her first day of kindergarten.
When parents put their children on the school bus, they want to have implicit trust in the driver and the school to ensure that their kid makes it to class. Unnervingly, that not only didn't happen for Carrie Newton's daughter on her first day of kindergarten, but the 5-year-old was left on the bus, in 90-degree heat, for three hours. Newton took to Twitter last week, writing, "My daughter's bus driver nearly killed her on the first day of kindergarten so here's a PSA for all parents of young bus riders."
She shared that at around 11 a.m. on August 28, the school secretary at Jerseyville West Elementary School called Newton to say her daughter was noted as absent. Newton insisted that couldn't be right, because she had placed her daughter on the school bus at 7:30 a.m. herself. The secretary said she would check for her daughter in her classroom, explaining that there could have been a mistake when taking attendance because many buses were late on the first day of the new school year.
She figured she'd get a call back in a matter of five minutes or so.
"I. WAIT. ALMOST. 40. MINUTES," Newton wrote. "And this time it isn't the secretary. It's the superintendent of the bus depot. And he's PISSED. My child. My FIVE YEAR OLD CHILD was left alone on the bus. She appears okay but I need to meet them at school. I bolt. I already had keys in my hand."
Newton had told her little girl, who has a mild physical delay affects her muscle tone in her legs and her speech, to follow other children her age off the bus when it stopped at her school. But there were no other younger children on the bus; she was the only one who was supposed to get off at the elementary school stop. And the school was remodeled over the summer, so Newton's daughter didn't recognize it when the driver stopped. She waited to be told to get off the bus, but the driver never said anything, and when she tried to get his attention at the depot, he disembarked too quickly, according to TODAY.com.
The understandably distraught mom shared on Twitter that she met her daughter at the school, where she was checked by a nurse and given water. She was physically fine, but, in a particularly heart-wrenching moment, said she was sorry that she had eaten some of her lunch while on the bus.
After contending with this outrageously, deeply upsetting incident, Newton is urging parents of young children to take preemptive action so their kids don't find them in a similar situation. "Remind your kids bus drivers to CHECK EVERY SEAT BEFORE LEAVING," Newton tweeted. "PLEASE. My child survived 3 hours but yours might not. Please. Take the extra 2 minutes. Learn from us. We were almost a tragedy. A preventable tragedy. Please remind them."