NC parents upset after autistic girl left on school bus for hours

Akilah Davis Image
Thursday, May 24, 2018
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A Scotland County family is upset after their autistic child was left on a school bus.

LAUREL HILL, NC (WTVD) -- A Scotland County family is upset after their autistic child was left on a school bus in the parking lot of Laurel Hill Elementary School for hours.

"It was hot. I'm sure all the windows were shut and I'm sure the door was completely shut. My child was just sitting there," Krystle Lay said of her 6-year-old daughter.

Lay told ABC11 on Monday that the bus picked up her daughter, taking her and other students to school. The child was left on that bus for hours.

What was even more disconcerting for the parents is that there are two adults on the bus - the driver and a monitor.

"I blame the bus driver and the monitor because if the monitor didn't look, I feel like the bus driver should have done a walk-through," Lay said.

The school district notified the child's parents after was left on the bus for 3 1/2 hours.

The little girl's father, Ricky Odom, said she was soaked with sweat once she got off the bus.

A school official spotted the child.

"She could've died of heat exhaustion. She could've got off the bus and wandered off into the road and got hit. I mean anything could happen," Odom said.

The family is thankful nothing more happened, but are now spending time pacifying a child who doesn't want to go to school.

"I asked her did she want to ride the bus again she said no. I said why, and she said 'because they are going to leave me again,'" Lay said.

The school district released a statement to ABC11:

"This type of incident is very concerning, completely unacceptable, and we are taking it very seriously. It should never have happened and to simply say we are sorry that it did is a tremendous understatement. We have processes in place and our drivers and monitors are trained to check each seat on their bus at the end of their run.

Although we have a longstanding history of this type of incident not occurring, we are reviewing the processes with all of our drivers and monitors and putting additional accountability measures in place to ensure that these types of situations do not occur in the future. Most importantly, we are glad that the student is OK and we want reassure our parents and community that student safety is and will continue to be of paramount importance to us."