Local News

2 Hoke County School Workers Fired for Leaving 3-Year-Old on Bus

Posted April 19, 1999

— Two Hoke County school workers have been fired for allegedly leaving a 3-year-old child alone on a school bus.

The incident, which happened Friday afternoon at Scurlock Elementary School, has left school administrators and parents outraged.

Fred Harvey does not trust the school bus system anymore. The single parent is now taking and picking up his son, Kyle, who was left alone on the school bus Friday afternoon.

The 3-year-old is enrolled in a pre-kindergarten speech program at Scurlock Elementary.

At the end of the school day Friday, Kyle was buckled into a seat on the bus by a teacher. He was then supposed to be dropped off at a local day care.

When he did not arrive at the day care, Harvey was notified. He came back to the school, where a janitor found the little boy in a locked bus, still buckled up after more than 2 hours.

"He was sitting there in the seat," says Principal Parnell Miles. "He was not crying or anything. He appeared to have just woken up."

"It never entered my mind that someone in charge of 3-year-old's would leave a bus without checking it," says Harvey.

It appears the bus driver and a bus monitor finished their route, parked the bus and went home. They claim they never saw the boy, who they say was not sitting in his regular seat.

The bus driver says she never saw the child, so she did not stop at the day care center to let him off.

School officials say they do not believe the school bus driver or monitor intentionally left the child on the bus. They believe it was an oversight, but say it is an action that cannot be tolerated.

Miles says the employees were fired for not following the rules.

"In the process of cleaning their bus, that is something that they normally do. [They] check all the seats to make sure that a child has not fallen asleep or was left on the bus."

"I'm mad because they were responsible for my child and they put his life in jeopardy," says Harvey.

Harvey says he will do everything in his power to make sure this does not happen again.

"In my scenario, everything turned out OK," he says. "But you change the time of the year, or the weather, and a child put on a bus for a long period of time, it could be devastating. He could lose his life."

The Hoke County Sheriff's Office will conduct a criminal investigation into the incident.

Fred Harvey says he would like to see criminal charges filed against the two school bus employees. He says if the situation had been reversed, and he had left his child locked alone in a car for two hours, there is no doubt he would have been charged.

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