A second set of bus driver and aide were fired on Monday morning for their failure to drop off a sleeping six-year old student to the Urban Leadership Academy. The boy was left on the bus this morning even though the aide assured the school there were no other students on the bus.
After a meeting between the bus company, A-1 Elegant Tours, and the district, both the driver and the aide were fired, according to the district and the bus company. This is the second such incident since schools opened for students on Sept. 7, 2017 prompting acting superintendent Eileen Shafer to convene a meeting with all the bus companies to “put them on notice.”
On Friday, another sleeping six-year-old student from the Dale Avenue School was left on the bus. Both driver and aide, employees of Woodland Park-based US Student, were fired as a result of that incident. The girl was unharmed.
“This is unacceptable and I am not having this on my watch. We cannot jeopardize the safety of our children due to an adult’s neglect; and I will be perfectly clear today when I meet with all bus companies – any future incidents like this and the company will be fired,” said Shafer.
Both bus companies will be fined for the incidents, according to the district.
The boy from this morning’s incident was located quickly and found sleeping in the bus. He was unharmed, according to the district. Hank Rhodes, a manager for A-1 Elegant Tours, said the driver realized the boy was still sleeping in the bus while picking up some John F. Kennedy High School students from their homes.
The driver discovered the boy when he drove to an address on East 21st Avenue, said Rhodes. He said the bus usually transports 13 students to Urban Leadership Academy on North 5th Street. Today, the bus picked up 10 students for transportation — 2 students didn’t go and 1 was a no-show.
Rhodes said when the students were getting off the bus, the aide got out to use the restroom at the school. He said aides are prohibited from using school bathrooms. As the aide was returning he told school security all the students had gotten out of the bus, he said.
The aide failed to conduct a child check — his one basic duty — in this case, said Rhodes. He said the second child check is conducted by the bus driver; in this case, the bus driver failed to conduct a check when dropping off the students.
“One of the things I always tell the drivers is, ‘If you’re willing to put your job in the aide’s hand that’s up to you because if a kid gets left on the bus both of you guys are getting terminated,” said Rhodes. “And today, that’s what happened.”
Shelim Khalique, owner of A-1 Elegant Tours, issued an apology for the incident.
Shafer has personally contacted the families of both students.