PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4) – A Broward County bus driver and bus aide accused of leaving a 6 year-old autistic child on a school bus for roughly six hours have been reassigned to other duties pending the outcome of the investigation by the Special Investigative Unit.
The Dania Beach kindergarten student, Aiden, was found on his bus Monday afternoon hours after he was supposedly dropped off at school.
Reached Tuesday by CBS 4 News, Aiden’s mother Sofia says she is reluctant to put him on a school bus again and is considering whether or not he will complete the school year at Dania Elementary.
She says Aiden has attended the school for three months.
“That’s crazy. I know how I am with my son, I would go crazy if that happened to him,” said parent Marie Gene to CBS4′s Joan Murray.
” I think they need to check before leaving,” says parent Melissa Steighan.
Which in fact they are, according to Broward County Public Schools spokeswoman Marsy Smith, the district’s policy is for the driver and the bus aide to check their vehicle to make sure everyone has gotten off the bus before it proceeds to the depot.
In addition to a bus sweep, drivers of buses made after 2005 are expected to set an automatic alarm that goes off at the end of each route. The driver has to go to the back of the bus to deactivate the alarm.
In buses older than 2005, like the one used Monday, at the end of the route drivers remove a yellow flag located at the front of the bus and place it on the back door of the bus, indicating the bus has been fully swept.
Whether the driver did this or not is under investigation.
The child, Aiden, was picked up around 7:15 a.m. in Hollywood and then driven to Dania Elementary located at 300 Southeast 2nd Avenue.
After dropping the children off, the bus driver drove to a county bus depot at 900 South University Drive in Pembroke Pines.
Pembroke Pines police spokesman Sgt. Carlos Bermudez said the child apparently fell asleep on the bus and went unnoticed.
When the driver returned just after 1 p.m. to get ready for the afternoon route, the child was found on the bus. The driver notified district officials who alerted the authorities and child’s parents. The boy was checked out by Pembroke Pines paramedics before being released to his mother and was found unharmed.
Sofia told CBS4 that Aiden is autistic, which made the situation that much more critical.
“It’s just really annoyance at this point. I’ve gone from the distraught, to where it is really annoying people are so incompetent,” said Sofia.
An investigation is underway to determine what, if any, further consequences the bus driver and aide may face.