Local News

Investigation Under Way After 4-Year-Old Left Alone on Johnston County School Bus

Posted May 16, 2000

— Johnston County school officials are investigating the case of a four-year-old student who was left alone on a bus for three hours.

The principal of South Smithfield Primary School says the student got out of his safety seat and moved to the back of the bus where the driver did not see him.

The driver parked her bus at the school where the child sat until he was noticed by two school employees three hours later.

"It was an unfortunate incident. The bus drivers have instructions to check their buses, to walk their buses every day from front to back to make sure there are no children left on the bus," says principal Freddie Carroll.

Parents are concerned about the incident.

"I'd be highly upset about it. What they need to do is check out every child that is on the bus and make sure everybody gets off," says Kim Murdock.

In Johnston County, all teacher's assistants must be available to drive buses. Some say they do not want the responsibility, but superintendent Jim Causby says it comes with the job.

Causby says the teachers assistants are needed to help drive the county's 300 school buses which bring 12,000 students to school. He says everyone who drives a bus must follow the rules.

The superintendent says there will be no policy change based on this situation. The teacher's assistant in this case is still teaching, but has been suspended from driving a bus while the investigation is pending.

The student is fine.

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