Boy Left on School Bus in District of Columbia

Very recently, the District of Columbia was allowed to regain control of the busses that transported Special Education students to and from school. It didn’t take long before a child was left on one of those busses. This does not bode well for the District.

A few weeks ago, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman decided to end the federal supervision over the District of Columbia’s special education transportation program. The original class action lawsuit was filed in 1995 by parents who alleged that the city of the District of Columbia had “failed to provide reliable transportation for students with disabilities”. That was when the federal oversight started.

At the time that the Judge’s decision was made, Mayor Vincent C. Gray had this to say:

“This decision to remove federal supervision over special-education transportation is a major accomplishment for the District government – and one my administration has worked hard to achieve. This crucial service will now again be run exclusively by the District government.”

In October of 2012, the supervising court master, David Gilmore, provided a report that noted that despite the improvements, the city’s “ability to continue compliance is fragile.” U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman set a December hearing date to finalize dismissal of the 1995 lawsuit.

On November 27, 2012, it was reported that a four year old boy was left stranded inside a District of Columbia school bus for five hours. The boy was enrolled in the District of Columbia’s special education program.

The boy was picked up by the school bus from his home at 7:35 in the morning. The bus arrived at his school, Walker Jones Educational Center in the Northwest. However, the boy did not get off the school bus. He fell asleep.

The bus then returned to the terminal at 8:52 in the morning. Both the driver and the bus attendant got off the bus. Somehow, neither one realized that the boy was still on the school bus. Later, at 2:05 in the afternoon, the driver and attendant returned to the school bus for their afternoon route. This was when they noticed that the four year old boy was still on the school bus.

The Office of the State Superintendent’s Department of Transportation called the boy’s mother and EMS. The child did not show signs of trauma or hypothermia, but was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

Image by ThoseGuys119 on Flickr