Two school bus drivers and two aides are out of jobs after students were left on aboard twice in two days in one New Jersey town.
The Paterson School District will also now require school staffers get on buses after students get off in the mornings after a 6-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy were left sleeping on privately owned school buses in separate instances on Friday and Monday. Acting Superintendent of Schools Eileen Shafer added that the two bus companies involved were also fined $1,000 apiece.
“I really need to make sure our children are safe, that's a priority for me,” she said. “I can't leave it up to the bus companies so we will be monitoring the bus walks (when students get to schools).”
The first student, a 6-year-old who goes to Dale Avenue Elementary School, was found sleeping on the bus after school staffers realized she was missing about 8:45 a.m. that day.
The second student who attends Urban Leadership Academy was also asleep in a rear seat when he was found up more than 40 minutes late for school -- and more than 2 miles away, according to the Bergen Record. The newspaper reports that student was left behind when an aide tasked with checking to make sure all students made it off opted instead to go to the bathroom at the school.
The company that owns the bus involved in Monday’s mishap said that the child was never alone on the bus, but Shafer said that it didn’t matter.
“Yesterday, I had had enough, and I called all of the bus companies (that serve Paterson schools) because I don't gamble,”she said.
She added, “It just cannot happen.”
Students’ families were likewise aghast by the repeated lapses. Khadijah Paterson said she would be outraged if one of her children were left on the bus, while Joe Jackson assumed that bus drivers and aides weren’t doing their jobs properly.
Lakima Morton, meanwhile, said that bus company employees and school staffers should follow the new protocol.
“You need to check and make sure everybody is gone,” she said. “As a parent, I would have been fuming (if it was my child.)”