This happens more often than we think, and probably in our own lives at least once. That doesn't make it any less frightening.
An Illinois middle-schooler's family sought answers after their 11-year-old (whose name was undisclosed) fell asleep on a school van while riding home from a school event. It ended up going unnoticed all the way until the young man woke up at the bus barn, alone, startled, at 5:15 p.m. The answers they've received thus far have been quite unnerving.
Grandmother blames driver's negligence
Knoxville, Illinois grandmother Debra Bragg told WQAD, "I cried when I found out, I yelled." Bragg accuses the driver of not paying attention as the child was, she claims, left sleeping in the van for nearly two hours before he woke up, frantically pounding on the windows, before a school district worker discovered him. Bragg implies negligence on the driver's part, saying:
All she had to do was look in the back of her van to make sure there wasn't a sleeping child," Bragg said. "Not a whole school bus. She only had to do her job.
Knoxville School District superintendent Geoff Schoonover denied Bragg's account of what happened.
That's not accurate. That didn't happen.
Schoonover admits the child was left in the van, but for far less than 2 hours
As if to make it sound so much less disturbing, Schoonover said the child was "only" left on the bus for 20 minutes, not the 2 hours alleged by his grandmother. Oh, well, that's a whole different story, then. Eyeroll.
Driver "couldn't see" the student left behind
While apologizing for the mistake, Schoonover said the student was missed because he wasn't visible through the driver's rear-view mirror. While walk-throughs are protocol on their school buses after such events to make sure they've been cleared, such is not the case for the vans. Let's hope that will change. According to Schoonover, as of now the driver will not be fired as demanded by the grandmother but will be reprimanded, and an investigation is underway.
Knoxville, Illinois is approximately 45 miles outside the Quad Cities, about 2 hours from Cedar Rapids.