A Rock Hill couple are demanding an investigation after their 4-year-old son was left on a school bus Friday afternoon.
The child was found unharmed and asleep on the bus, but the Rock Hill school district is investigating why the bus driver did not properly check to ensure that all students were off the bus.
“Clearly, you have to check the whole bus,” said Valari Ivory, whose son, James Mann, was attending his second day of school at the Central Child Development Center.
“I was crying. I was distraught. I was thinking the worst. There are predators out there. There could have been some kind of accident.”
About 15 minutes passed between the time Ivory first reported that her son did not get off the bus and the time the driver found him.
The child attends half-day afternoon classes and took a bus from the center in downtown Rock Hill to Rosewood Elementary School in northern Rock Hill. At Rosewood, he was supposed to transfer to another bus that would take him to his stop near his house off Mount Gallant Road.
The driver of the first bus that took the child from Central Child Development Center told school officials he later found the child asleep on the floor in the back of the bus, said Elaine Baker, spokesperson for the school district.
The child was never lost, Baker said, and was never outside the bus. However, the district is conducting an investigation to see why proper procedures were not followed. No disciplinary measures have been announced.
Drivers are supposed to check the bus from front to back, Baker said.
“The child never left the bus, but the child should have been noticed,” Baker said. The district transports about 13,000 children each day.
The family disputes whether the child was asleep on the floor, saying he was not dirty and told his parents, Ivory and James Mann Sr., that he fell asleep in the seat.
Further, the father said that when the bus brought his son to Rosewood on Friday after he was found by the driver, his son was asleep on a bus seat.
The family wants to review the videotape from the camera on the bus Tuesday when the school’s transportation center opens after Labor Day.
“We do not want anyone to lose their job, but someone needs a reprimand,” said Gwen Finley, the child’s godmother and a family friend.
The parents said there were also problems Wednesday, when the bus that was supposed to take the child from Central left without him. Another bus brought James directly to his bus stop, Ivory said.
Further, the parents both want answers about bus changes for such young children.
Ivory and James Mann Sr. said they did not know until Friday that such young children taking pre-kindergarten classes had to change buses to get home.
Children of that age wear cards around their necks that state names, addresses, and bus numbers.
But Ivory said the card does not have two bus numbers to indicate a transfer. The card the 4-year-old has shows his bus to Rosewood but no transfer bus number.
Andrew Dys 803-329-4065