PANAMA CITY — A Bay District Schools bus driver has been suspended with pay as the district investigates an incident involving a sleeping second grader who was left on the bus alone for hours.
According to Bay District Schools, a bus driver getting on his bus for his late route found the sleeping student on a bus parked at a district high school at around 1:30 p.m. The student apparently failed to get off for school in the morning and remained on the bus alone for hours. The student is safe and is with family members. The incident has been turned over to the Department of Children and Families and law enforcement for a complete investigation while the bus driver is suspended with pay per union protocols.
“Words cannot express how sorry I am that something like this happened,” said Superintendent Bill Husfelt. “I simply cannot imagine how this little boy’s mom felt when she got that call and I just can’t excuse something like this. What I can tell you is that this is an isolated incident, which doesn’t make it any less awful, and I can tell you that our bus drivers work very hard each day to care of our children, but this is simply inexcusable.”
District protocols call for a seat-by-seat check of the bus at the end of every route, Husfelt said, adding he was “extremely dismayed” at the lack of attention to protocol.
Husfelt said the driver would face disciplinary action up to, and including, a recommendation for termination and that he would let DCF and law enforcement do their own investigations as well.
Information on the identity of the bus driver involved or the school the student attended were not immediately available.