Driver fired after children left on bus
By JUDY SHERARD
Two Hays USD 489 elementary students were left on a bus at the bus barn Monday morning before school, an incident that led to a bus driver’s firing.
The Washington Elementary School students, a kindergartner and first-grader, didn’t get off the bus when it arrived at the school, said Allen Park, Washington principal.
Park said the two siblings are new to the school.
“It was their first day on the bus, and they never got off,” said Russ Henningsen, USD 489 transportation director.
The students remained on the bus when the driver returned to the bus barn after the route.
Drivers are required to walk through the bus when they return to the bus barn to make sure there are no students, backpacks or other items left on the bus.
“The driver did not follow policy and walk through the bus,” Henningsen said. “He has been terminated.”
Another bus driver spotted the children sitting in the bus.
Park said someone from the bus barn contacted him and told him what happened, and the children were brought to school.
Henningsen said the children’s parent also was notified.
“The teachers didn’t know of any issues,” Park said.
Henningsen estimated the children were left on the bus for approximately 10 minutes before they were found.
The students involved were 6-year-old Kaden Dempsey and his 5-year-old sister, Macey.
Video from the vehicle’s camera shows the driver leaving and locking the bus at the end of his route without noticing Kaden and Macey sitting in back.
“It’s a bad day. We’ll be on here forever,” Macey is heard saying.
“Not forever, don’t say that,” Kaden replies.
He then suggests, “Let’s go back and take a nap until morning.”
A training session on the walk-through procedure took place Monday afternoon.
Henningsen declined to give the name of the driver.
• The AP contributed
to this story.