Special Needs Student Left Alone On Bus For 3 Hours
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A Southwest Side woman said her grandson, a special needs child, could have died. The boy was left on a school bus for hours and nobody noticed.
As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, it happened earlier this month when it was unseasonably hot.
“He might have drifted off into a sleep. You know, I mean, you don’t do an animal like that!” Ruthel Crosby said, sobbing as she thought about what could have happened if her grandson Travis was never found on a stifling hot school bus, where he had been left alone.
“It’s like leaving a baby alone. Babies, they’re going to cry, but he was just … they found him just sitting there,” Crosby said.
Travis is a 7th grader and special needs student at Ashburn Community Elementary School. His grandmother has custody of Travis and his three siblings, because his mother was addicted to drugs.
That drug abuse left Travis suffering from mental and physical problems. On Oct. 5, his grandmother watched him get on the bus with his sister. An hour later, a teacher realized his sister was at school, but Travis wasn’t.
“The teacher thought enough to call the parent to find out where’s the brother of that sister,” teacher Mario Weston said. “We don’t know what we would have done, had she not set off the alarm so that the principal could set her investigation into motion.”
That’s when someone from the school went to the bus yard and found Travis on the bus, more than three hours from the time he’d left for school.
The school nurse diagnosed him as having dehydration and disorientation.
“I want to see justice for it, because it could happen to another kid,” Crosby said.
Representatives of the bus company, White Transportation, refused to comment, referring calls to the Chicago Public Schools.
A CPS spokesperson said the bus aide and driver have been suspended from their route. The company also was fined $5,000 and the company’s training procedures were being reviewed to prevent this type of incident from happening again.
–CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman contributed to this report.