Another Child Behind On An East Texas School Bus - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/7/05-New London

Another Child Behind On An East Texas School Bus

For the second time in a week a child is left behind on an East Texas school bus.

Last week an autistic student was left for hours on a Pinetree ISD school bus.

It happened again last Wednesday in West Rusk ISD in New London.

A 6-year-old, first grade student was found running along side of the highway after being left on a parked bus for hours.

"I knew a child at noon running down the highway with his backpack and coat should not be there."
On her way home last Wednesday April Driver spotted a little boy running along the highway.

"There were several cars going both ways," April said, "and every car that went by he was jumping up and down and flagging them down with his hands."

April picked the boy up and learned the 6-year-old had been left on a bus at the nearby primary school. April said it was almost Noon, hours after the bus had stopped. The child said he was heading home to Turnertown, miles away.

"He was about a quarter of a mile or more from the school."
School officials said the first grade student fell asleep on the bus.

"The nurse checked him over and he was fine he was just a little bit, a little bit upset," said the school principal Gwen Gilliam.

Gilliam said the boy speaks little english and has a speech impediment. How he got off the bus is unclear.

The bus driver, Otis Johnson, issued this statement. "It was a sad mistake on my part that I didn't go back and check that bus that morning. This is the first time anything like this has happened to me in 22 years..."

The West Rusk superintendent said because of Johnson's history with the district, he will not be reprimanded despite the district's policy that all drivers check buses to make sure no child is left behind.

"He's got a good record and the transportation director speaks highly of him and the elementary principal does too."

Superintendent Jones said the district will review it's policy, so this doesn't happen again.

KLTV was unable to contact the parents of the student.

Superintendent Jones said, for months, the district has been planning to add alarms to the back door of every bus. It would be designed to make sure drivers walk to the back and check every seat.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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