BPS student left on bus, parent speaks out

BPS student left on bus while both driver and aide were present

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Buffalo parent Joanne Minella is outraged. Her 6-year-old son was left on a Buffalo Public School bus, when both the driver and the bus monitor didn’t realize he was still on board.

“When he leaves here in the morning, I’m putting his life in their hands,” she told News 4.

The incident occurred Feb. 10. Her 6-year-old Jonathan fell asleep, and wasn’t brought to school for almost two hours.

He’s a student at Buffalo School #59, which starts at 8:00 a.m. according to a Buffalo Public School spokesperson.

“The first thing they said, there was an incident with your son on the bus this morning, which I was expecting them to say he was in trouble, something happened on the bus. I wasn’t expecting them to say there was an incident with your son and your son was left on the bus.” Minella said.

“I should have been notified immediately when this happened and I wasn’t notified until almost an hour and a half after he was brought back into the school.”

Jonathan wasn’t hurt during the incident, but following allegations of abuse on Buffalo Public School buses due to lack of aides, the fact that it happened at all, is unsettling for both his mother and his grandmother.

“My heart breaks, I can’t even talk about it with anyone because my heart breaks as to how he felt when he was on that bus,” said Jonathan’s grandmother, Mary Ackely.

This isn’t the first time Minella has had problems with the bus system; Jonathan has dwarfism, and has a hard time sitting in the back. She said she’s asked for room to be left for him in the front, but that hasn’t always happened.

According to First Student, who hires bus drivers for BPS, the driver involved in the incident has since resigned.

BPS is in charge of hiring the bus monitors; a district spokesperson told News 4 the bus monitor involved is on administrative leave.

A video recording of the incident will be shown to Minella by First Student, she said. A company spokesperson told News 4 the video clearly shows Jonathan was never left completely alone the bus, and that the driver and bus monitor were both present.

However, the spokesperson told News 4 the driver did not follow official First Student protocol.

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