Bossier Parish Student Reportedly Left on School Bus for 5+ Hours
Updated October 22, 2021:
This is the statement that was sent to us regarding the incident from the public relations department at Bossier Schools:
The error was on our part and the bus operator was held accountable through disciplinary action consistent with Bossier Parish School Board policy. It is important to point out the operator drives multiple routes and had not yet parked her bus, which is when a full sweep from front to back is required. We are thankful the child was not harmed in any way and we will learn from this incident by reminding operators that it is a good safety practice to check buses for students that may have fallen asleep and did not deboard at their school.
We're hearing reports that a student in Bossier City was left on a school bus for nearly six hours without being discovered on October 8th. The report comes from the child's mother, Ashley Thrift, who incidentally knows all about working with the public and how important safety checks are as a Shreveport Police Officer. According to Thrift, her child, a 1st-grade student at Bellaire Elementary, was left for over five hours on his school bus. While no one is trying to 'throw anyone under the bus,' it's of vital importance for the people taking care of our children to make sure that they're all accounted for and arrive safely at their destination.
The parents were alerted to the situation when they got a notification that their six-year-old son was listed as being absent from school at around 12:30 pm that day. Obviously, this concerned the child's parents because they personally saw their child get on the school bus at 7:15 am that morning. After numerous calls, they were able to ascertain that their son had fallen asleep on the school bus and that he finally arrived in class later that afternoon.
Calls to the Bossier Parish Schools Transportation Department by the family resulted in the driver being put on administrative leave pending an investigation. However, without notice, the driver was back on their route as of this morning and as a result, the young man was too distressed to board his bus. We were referred to the public relations department when we attempted to call for a statement and we are waiting for a call back as to what they discovered during the course of their investigation and what measures have been put in place to prevent this from happening again.
While we know there are driver shortages that are affecting all of the school districts, and that being down even one driver can throw things in disarray, we can understand why Bossier Schools would want to put a driver back on the road as soon as possible. However, our parents do deserve answers. We'll update this story as more information becomes available.