ALDINE – A first-grader finished out his first week of the new school year alone and asleep on an Aldine ISD school bus last Friday.
According to the district, the boy was picked up from Kujawa Elementary school at 3:38 p.m. and remained on the bus until the driver completed the route and pulled into the West Side Bus Barn at 9900 Antoine Drive around 4:50 p.m.
The boy’s mother is an Aldine ISD bus driver, and the district provides a daycare center for employees at that location. But when the boy’s mother went to the onsite daycare, her son wasn’t there.
“My daughter called me and she said that her son, my grandson, had not made it to the westside nursery. She said the lady in the nursery said the other kids from Kujawa Elementary arrived, but John Jr. was not on the bus,” said the boy’s grandmother, Katrena Douglas, who spent 15 years as an Aldine ISD bus driver.
Douglas said she told her frantic daughter to ask someone to check the bus.
“The lady that drove the bus looked at her and she was like, ‘Oh, it was me. It was me.’ And she took off running back outside to the bus. And then she retrieved my grandson and was pulling him really, really fast, walking him in the building,” Douglas said.
The district told KPRC 2 News the boy was left unattended “on an air-conditioned bus for a total of seven minutes”. The district said once the boy was reunited with his mother, a wellness check was conducted and it was determined he was healthy.
The boy’s family questions the length of time the boy was on the bus, believing it may have been much longer, and said the boy was sweating and upset.
“I don’t care if it was eight minutes or one second. That is not acceptable. He’s a little traumatized. He was afraid. He said, ‘G-Mama, I’m not going to ever fall asleep again on the bus. I don’t ever want to be left on the bus.’ And that really hurt my heart,” Douglas said.
The family said they haven’t been allowed to review the surveillance video from the school bus, and say the driver involved is still on the job.
“She is supposed to walk that bus from the back to the front, looking for sleeping children, and that was not done. Nobody’s being held accountable. They’re not delivering Amazon packages. They’re delivering human beings. That’s somebody’s child,” Douglas said.
Aldine ISD provided the following statement to KPRC 2 News:
“Student safety is a priority for Aldine ISD. Once the Transportation Department became aware of the event, an investigation immediately began. The investigation is ongoing and, upon conclusion and based on findings, will take appropriate administrative corrective action.
Aldine ISD’s Transportation procedures require bus drivers to perform a visual check after completing a bus run by walking the bus from front to back.
We share the concerns of our parents and take our responsibility to deliver students safely to and from school very seriously. Aldine ISD’s Transportation Department will continue to work with our campuses so that our students are safe when traveling to and from school and while on our campuses.”