Child abandoned on school bus

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 7, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

A five-year-old Valley Grande Elementary student was left alone on a school bus for roughly three hours last week, according to reports from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.

Dallas County School Superintendent Fannie Major-McKenzie said the incident is still under investigation.

On the morning of Feb. 2, the child boarded the bus en route to Valley Grande Elementary and fell asleep in his seat. When the bus arrived at the school, the students exited and the bus driver proceeded to do his daily check – a procedure all bus drivers are trained to do. “He walked the bus,” Sheriff Harris Huffman said. “But evidently he didn’t walk it far enough.”

The bus driver returned to his home after dropping the students off. Around 11 a.m., the driver discovered the child on bus.

“(The bus driver) made sure he was okay and gave him something to eat,” Huffman said. The driver then called the school, told administrators what happened and promptly returned the child to school grounds.

“(The bus driver) flat admitted, ‘I made a mistake,'” Huffman said. “I believe he’ll never do that again.”

Huffman said he is relieved the situation had a happy ending. “I’m just glad everything turned out okay,” he said.

Valley Grande Elementary Principal Calvin Vance was not available for comment.

The mother of the child has filed an incident report, citing endangering the welfare of a child. Major-McKenzie said the school system will continue to train bus drivers, ensuring “everything is safe for students.”