District officials apologize after child left on bus for 6 hours

PELION, SC (WIS) - A student was left on a Lexington School District One school bus for six hours, according to a spokesperson with the district.

District spokesperson Mary Beth Hill says a bus driver and an aide dropped off students at an elementary school in Pelion around 7:30 a.m. Monday then dropped off the bus in a parking lot at Pelion High School.

Six hours later at 1:30 p.m., the driver and aide returned to find the student still on the bus.

"Came back at 1:30 to get the bus ready for the dismissal pickup, and that same route in reverse order again, and when they did, there was a student on the bus," Hill said.

Hill says the driver immediately reported the student's whereabouts to district officials, who then took the child back to school.

"We really regret it happened," said Hill.

School officials then got in touch with the student's parents to explain what happened, according to Hill, and a parent took the child home.

"The protocol, whenever you park a bus and have been transporting students, is to walk the bus," said Hill. "So you walk from the front to the back and check each bench or row individually. The assumption would be that did not happen."

District officials say the bus driver and the aide have been placed on leave while an investigation takes place.

"That's not an admission of guilt, but it's actually for their own protection as well," Hill said. "In some circumstances, it's better that they're not there while an investigation is going on."

Hill said the student is okay and returned to school.

According to Hill, the transportation director is talking with other drivers to help prevent this from happening again.

"They immediately went back over everything and said, 'This is how you do it. This is what we do. It's not negotiable,'" she said.

The investigation is expected to take a couple of days.

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