4-year-old left alone on school bus for over three hours
by Franklin Clark, Reporter -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Dec 09, 2009 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Trigg County School Superintendent Tim McGinnis placed a preschool bus driver and bus monitor on administrative leave, pending an investigation of how a 4-year old preschool student was left on a bus for roughly three and a half hours Thursday morning.

“I think I know what happened, but I’ve yet to know how it happened, which is very disturbing,” McGinnis said. “But we are in the process now of interviewing the driver and the monitor.”

McGinnis said he learned of the incident from Trigg County Schools Transportation Director Mark Harris shortly before 1 p.m. on Thursday. In a release, he said that the preschool buses unload at about 9 a.m., and that when the bus driver boarded his bus for the afternoon run at about 12:40 p.m., he found the child.

McGinnis went on to say that shortly thereafter, the bus driver brought the child into the transportation office, and also said that after he arrived, he immediately contacted the child’s mother and father, asking them to take the 4-year-old to be medically evaluated.

“To my knowledge, the child remained on the bus during the time it was parked,” McGinnis said. “The bus was parked in the Transportation Department parking lot during the entire time.”

After the mother took the child to the family’s primary care provider, she notified the school that he was not seriously injured due to the time on the bus, and reiterated on Friday afternoon that the child was fine, McGinnis said, although he added that the district will continue to monitor the well-being of the child.

McGinnis said that late on Thursday afternoon, the district administration contacted the Cabinet for Health and Family Resources (CHFS) Department of Community Based Services, and that he took administrative action and began an investigation.

The names of the bus driver and bus monitor, who were put on paid administrative leave, were not released, nor was the name of the preschool student. McGinnis said this is to protect those that are or might be innocent.

A bus monitor is required on every bus due to state law and regulation, a school press release said.

“We have state regulations … to make sure that these things don’t occur, but it did, and so we’re looking at our protocol, regulation, training, because it did happen,” McGinnis said. “We’ve got to see what went awry.”

The superintendent also said that if the investigation reveals evidence against the bus driver and monitor, they could be placed on unpaid administrative leave, if such action is recommended and if McGinnis finds fault.

This is a serious issue, McGinnis said, and appropriate action will be taken at the conclusion of the investigation and findings. Trigg County School Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Travis Hamby will take the lead on the investigation, added McGinnis.

If it is decided that action should be taken against either the driver or monitor or both, they can choose to appeal, McGinnis said.
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