LAVEEN, AZ - Video from inside a school bus shows just how long a 4-year-old boy with special needs was left alone , and overlooked, after being taken to school last week.
The surveillance footage was obtained Wednesday by ABC15, and it shows Floyd Smith left on the bus by himself for 11 minutes.
Jennifer Ponce said her son, Floyd Smith, got on the school bus around 11:30 a.m. April 22 to attend the preschool program at Laveen Elementary School.
The video shows the bus on the way to the bus school yard after it left Floyd's school. The 4-year-old fell asleep and never got off, overlooked by both the bus driver and bus aide.
After about six minutes of being left alone, Floyd can be seen in the video, poking his head around a seat and appearing confused.
"At one point, he gets up and looks around and is clearly bewildered by the fact he's alone on that bus," said Rudy Resendez Jr ., the family attorney.
After several more minutes, a third school worker can be seen entering the bus, spotting Floyd, but not getting the boy any help. Instead, the employee walked to the back of the bus and continued working.
"T his employee, unfortunately, did not remove him from the bus but went about his business of putting the car seats into the other seats in the bus," said Resendez.
About five minutes later, the worker got off the bus and went to get another employee to help the young boy.
"I think it clearly shows more training is necessary," said Resendez.
“It’s hard to imagine that someone would leave a child on the bus for even a split second or forget about him,” said Ponce.
At 1 p.m., the school left Ponce a voicemail informing her that her son never arrived to class, 30 minutes after class started. Around 1:26 p.m., she received a second voicemail saying her son had been found after being left on the school bus.
Ponce said her son is in special education for speech and other problems and unable to provide any answers himself.
In a statement, the school district spokesperson Karen Menge said:
We take the safety of our students very seriously. We immediately started a thorough investigation into this incident. The transportation employees involved were placed on administrative leave. All transportation employees have been reminded of their responsibilities and the requirement to follow all procedures without exception.
We have and will continue to review our transportation procedures to ensure a safe delivery of our students.
Menge told ABC15 the district policy states transportation workers are supposed to inspect the bus for any children before workers get off.
said the district has approximately 2649 students in the district that are eligible to ride a bus. Mesai Menge said the school district has approximately 2649 students in the district that are eligible to ride a bus.
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