Driver fired after student left on school bus
August 19, 2011 (COUNTRY CLUB HILLS, Ill.) (WLS) -- A south suburban bus company is under investigation after a special needs student was left on a school bus.
The student from Country Club Hills was left alone on a bus for several hours Wednesday afternoon.
The teenager's grandmother says this should never happen to anyone's child. She is hoping for a change in bus procedures statewide, but she is mostly blaming the bus driver, who has been fired.
"She should never be able to drive a bus again, not with kids on it," said Linda Daniels, the teen's grandmother. "And these kids are special needs children. There are nine children on a short bus. How long does it take to make the sweep? Fifteen seconds? How long it would have taken to call each name and checked them off? Two minutes? Safety first."
Nineteen-year-old Alexis Robinson started her first day of school Tuesday, but she never made it off the bus. According to family, Robinson was born with Down syndrome and is mostly non-verbal, especially since her mother died of cancer in April.
Daniels put Alexis on the bus in Country Club Hills Tuesday morning and got a call from the school five hours later saying Alexis was missing. The teenager was found on the bus, which was parked at the bus company terminal in Crestwood. She was sleeping and unharmed.
Daniels said a new bus driver was on the route that day. She just wants to see a better check and balance system.
"If they could have that have that list, the names of the children that are on the bus, if they could call each child's name off," Daniels said.
Alpha School Bus Company released a statement to ABC 7 Friday morning saying the driver was terminated after a review of the incident.
The company has signs posted on its lot that say "Have you checked your bus for sleeping children?"
Crestwood police are investigating and Alpha says it is cooperating fully with the criminal investigation.
Alexis attends a transit program operated by the Southwest Cook County Cooperative Associate for Special Education. Officials there say what happened is unacceptable and cannot be repeated.
Daniels says the 19-year-old has been traumatized by the incident and has not been back to school since Tuesday. The family is debating whether to send Alexis back to school at all.
local, jessica d'onofrio
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