The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Education

March 6, 2014

Child left sleeping on parked ACS school bus last month was a kindergartner

ANDERSON — New details emerged Thursday about a child left unattended on a school last month after falling asleep on the way home from classes at Tenth Street Elementary School.

The 5-year-old kindergartner was supposed to be dropped off at East Ninth and Moravian streets, about 4:35 p.m. on Feb. 20, said Joseph A. Cronk, chief operations officer for Anderson Community Schools.

It was the last scheduled stop for bus 301, which is owned by ABBCO Transportation, a school bus contractor that operates 32 buses for ACS.

When the student didn't arrive home as scheduled, school officials were notified by the child's parent, said Cronk.

That triggered a response in which the driver — who hasn't been named — was contacted, the route was retraced, and the bus was checked, which had been parked at the company's garage facility in the 2600 block of Noble Street, Cronk said.

It was during that final check that the child was found about 4:55 p.m., and where the parents picked up their child, Cronk said.

"Drivers are required to do a bus check after their last student dropoff," he added. "In this case the driver failed to perform that task."

Cronk said drivers are constantly reminded to check their buses. It is stressed at every meeting with bus contractors.

In fact, Cronk said, ABBCO requires three checks, once at the end of the route, once at the garage and a third check that's performed by the company owner.

Calls to ABBCO Transportation Wednesday and Thursday seeking comment about the incident were not returned.

Under Indiana law, Cronk said, a report is first made to the school superintendent (currently Tim Edsell), and then to the Indiana Department of Education. In addition, Cronk said the school system filed a report with an Indiana State Police inspector.

Cronk said the school bus driver, who is not an employee of ACS, is no longer driving any district bus routes.

Like Stu Hirsch on Facebook and follow him @stuhirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

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