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Special Needs Student Left Alone on Bus for 5 Hours: FWISD

A FWISD special needs student was left unattended on a district bus last month

What to Know

  • A Kindergarten student with special needs was left unattended for five hours on a FWISD bus last month.
  • FWISD said a bus attendant missed the student while checking to make sure all students and belongings were off the bus.
  • The bus driver and bus attendant have both resigned as a result of the incident.

The Fort Worth Independent School District is making its bus operators return to training after a special needs student was left unattended on a bus for five hours last month. 

The incident happened on Oct. 15, and involved a kindergarten-age special needs student. 

Fort Worth ISD spokesman Clint Bond told NBC 5 that on Oct. 15 the child rode his usual route to school with other students, but when the bus arrived at school and the other students exited, he remained in his seat.

The bus was operated by a driver and an attendant. The job of the attendant is to walk the length of the bus and check every seat to make sure no students or belongings are left behind, and then press a button at the back of the bus that signals the check was done and everything is clear, Bond said.

In this instance, Bond said video from the bus monitoring system showed the attendant did walk the bus, but she did not appear to turn her head and check seats. The video showed the attendant press the button on the back of the bus and exit, according to Bond. 

Bond said the child ended up unattended on the bus from about 9:20 a.m. to approximately 2:18 p.m. 

When the bus driver and attendant returned to the bus for their afternoon route, Bond said the attendant heard a cough come from one of the row of seats and she found the child, still secured in his seat. 

The child was immediately taken off the bus and given water and reunited with his family. The child did not need medical attention, according to Bond. 

The bus driver is a 21-year veteran of FWISD, and the attendant has been with the district for seven years. Both were going to be terminated, but requested the option to resign, which the district allowed, Bond said.

As a result of the incident, Bond said all FWISD bus drivers and attendants will have to take their training courses over to ensure that this does not happen again.

Bond said that Child Protective Services interviewed both the driver and the attendant, and that charges could be filed in the future. 

The family of the child involved declined NBC 5's request for an interview. 

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