Belding bus driver suspended after leaving sleeping student on bus

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 11:38 am on Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A preschooler was left on a Belding school bus on Feb 28. The driver was suspended but has since returned to work on an alternate route. — Daily News/Cory Smith

BELDING — A bus driver for Belding Area Schools has returned to work after being temporarily suspended when a child was left on the bus.

According to Superintendent Leslie Mount, Belding preschool students were dropped off at the Early Childhood Center at 1 p.m. Feb, 28. A female bus driver, who Mount declined to name, let the children off, did her normal check of the bus, walked throughout the bus and looked at all of the seats, but one child was under a seat and had fallen asleep.

“The bus driver did not see the child,” Mount said. “Obviously, it is a mistake that cannot happen. We take full responsibility. The driver had an impeccable record before this and she is one of our best drivers.”

After checking her bus, the bus driver drove to the middle school parking lot. Mount said that was about a 10 minute process. At around 1:10 p.m. the driver exited the bus to have lunch.

Mount said at 1:45 p.m. the school received a call that someone had seen the child unsupervised.

“The bus supervisor immediately called the bus driver, who attended to the child immediately,” she said. “She brought the child back to school and the child was fine.”

Mount said at 1:55 p.m. the bus supervisor called the mother of the child. Mount then received a call from the bus supervisor at 2:15 p.m.

“I then called the mother personally to explain the situation,” Mount said. “Since that time, disciplinary actions have been taken. The bus driver was issued a suspension and was removed from that particular preschool route. She is back to work as of this week.”

According to Mount, current policies involving the situation will be reviewed.

“Anytime something like this happens, it makes you stop and consider (the policies),” she said. “They are there for a reason, it was a mistake and it can’t happen.”

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