Long Island District Investigating After Boy With Autism Is Left on School Bus

Jeanine Vitucci said that her 7-year-old son, who is nonverbal, was left on a bus for more than two hours

A Long Island school district said it is investigating after a boy with autism was left on a bus alone earlier this week.

Jeanine Vitucci said that her 7-year-old son Anthony, who is nonverbal, was left on a bus for more than two hours Wednesday after the bus made its rounds through North Bellmore.

“To think that my son was sitting in front of somebody’s house, not knowing where he was, sitting alone on an enclosed bus,” she said. “I don’t know if he was hysterically crying, banging on the door to get out. I don’t know if he got out, if he was was roaming the streets.”

Vitucci said that she put Anthony on the bus in front of their home at 8:05 a.m. Then, at 10:40 a.m., she got a call from the principal saying the 7-year-old had just gotten to school.

She said she was told that Anthony was initially marked absent when he didn’t get off the bus at school. The bus driver, who apparently had forgotten the boy was on the bus, drove to a relative’s house, where the bus sat parked for hours.

Nassau County police are trying to track the bus route Wednesday morning with historical data from its GPS unit. But Vitucci said the mistake should have never happened in the first place.

“The matron has to hand each child to a teacher,” she said. “There’s a protocol they have to follow.”

The school district said Thursday that it was “investigating the incident and will take appropriate action.”

“The safety and security of our students is our highest priority,” the district said.

But Vitucci said that she is worried that her son will be safe every day when he gets on the bus.

“Every day is gonna be nerve wracking, traumatic day,” she said. “It will never be the same.”

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