A Missouri preschooler who fell asleep on a bus was missing for two hours after the driver parked the bus and didn’t check the seats.
The 4-year-old boy got on the Carl Junction school bus at 3 p.m. Thursday, but he never get off at his daycare.
“His backpack wasn’t on his hook and so I went up to the front to ask them where he was, and they hadn’t seen him,” Sasha Cloud, the boy’s mother, told KOAM-TV.
That’s because the boy fell asleep on the bus, and the driver didn’t check the seats before leaving it at a bus barn.
Bus video shows the driver did not check the bus for students and failed to post a sign at the back of the bus saying it had been checked, Carl Junction Police Chief Delmar Haase told the Joplin Globe. Both actions are required by school policy.
If the driver had checked, he would have found the boy sleeping four seats behind him, the Springfield News-Leader reported. Instead, the boy was found by police just before 5:30 p.m. in a locked bus lot.
Instead of walking down the bus to check for students, the driver exited the bus and opened the back door to hang the sign saying no children were on board, Haase told the News-Leader.
“The school district takes full responsibility,” school superintendent Phillip Cook told KOAM. “We’ve been in communication with Children’s Division. We’ve been in communication with of course the parents. And we are going to do everything we can to make sure this little guy is taken care of, he’s our number one concern right now.”
Cook said the school would work with the family to make sure the boy feels comfortable riding the bus again. Otherwise, it will find an alternative transportation.
The school would not tell KOAM if the 36-year-old driver had been disciplined and declined to tell the Globe if he was still employed. The driver’s name has not been released.
Police recommended to the Jasper County prosecutor that a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child be filed against the driver, but he had not been arrested as of Monday, the News-Leader reported.