Friday, November 6, 2009

FL: 3-Year Old Special Needs Child Left On Bus For 6 Hours

November 5, 2009

See news video:

In Osceola County, a school bus driver and bus monitor were arrested for abandoning a 3-year-old child on a bus for six hours. The mistake on the Osceola County school bus could have cost the boy his life.

Osceola County sheriff's investigators say bus driver Benjamin Gonzalez and his attendant, Carmen Pacheco, made their morning drop off at Sunrise Elementary School Tuesday morning, but they overlooked one special needs child who was still strapped into his car seat.

“They put that child in a dangerous situation,” Twis Lizasuain of the Osceola County Sheriff's office said.

The child sat on the bus in the parking lot of Horizon Middle School for six hours.

“The child seemed to be in good health, but to be on the safe side school officials had encouraged the mother to take the child to the hospital,” Lizasuain explained.

The Osceola County School District suspended Gonzalez and Pacheco without pay Tuesday. They were arrested Thursday and charged with child neglect.

“It clearly was not done intentionally, but the law states if a child is in your custody they have certain responsibilities and obligations,” Lizasuain explained.

The Osceola County School District says there is a strict protocol for sweeping the bus before and after students are suppose to be on it.

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