Two staff members at the Lakeview Woods State School in Lee’s Summit, Mo., were fired after a disabled 19-year-old student was left behind on a school bus Jan. 10, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The bus driver and an aide left the nonverbal student in a wheelchair on the bus in the morning and the driver discovered her at the end of the school day. According to school officials, the bus remained parked in the school parking lot that day. School staff gave the dehydrated student fluids and checked her vital signs before taking her home.
The school reported the situation to the Child Abuse and Prevention Hotline run by the Missouri Department of Social Services the same day. The situation was deemed a Type 2 or non-emergency incident.
On Monday, both the bus driver and aide, who were employees of bus contractor First Student, were dismissed.
“Today the Department’s area director started a full inquiry into the incident to determine exactly what happened and whether there were any other employees involved,” stated the Department. “The supervisor and the building administrator will evaluate the procedures used for taking attendance and checking students into and out of the school each day.”
The girl’s parents said their daughter's wheelchair had been unlatched, but after that, she apparently was just forgotten. They were concerned that without the chair restrained, their daughter — who suffers from seizures — could have hit her head or seriously injured herself.
The bus company, First Student, issued a written response, stating, "At First Student, the safety and security of the passengers we transport is our top priority, so this incident is something we take very seriously. We sincerely regret that this incident occurred, as well as the concern that it has caused parents, and we are thankful that the student was uninjured."
The Department noted the investigation is ongoing and further action could be taken.