Bus driver, matron charged after kid left on bus

January 4, 2010 2:34:38 PM PST
A school bus driver and matron have been charged for leaving a student alone on a bus in Brooklyn. The 5-year-old, who is developmentally disabled, was stranded on the bus in frigid temperatures.

Now, the child's parents want to know how this happened.

Both the driver and matron are facing charges of endangering the welfare of a child. And the parents say they don't want any other child or parent to have to go through such an ordeal.

"When I got the phone call, I was, I had no words to say," dad Junaid Mirza said. "Where I am and what I'm doing, my brain was not working properly."

That was Mirza's stunned reaction when he heard that his daughter, Iman, had been left alone on the bus for at least an hour. She should've been dropped off with the other kids at P.S. 255 around 8:10 a.m. But somehow, both the driver and the matron failed to see her. It wasn't until more than an hour later, when the bus was parked along Avenue X as the driver ate breakfast, that Iman was discovered and her parents called.

"'We're so sorry your daughter was missing for an hour without heat inside the bus,'" mother Annie Mirza recalled she was told over the phone. "'We are calling 911 if you would like to come.' I said absolutely I would like to come."

Paramedics examined Iman and determined she was OK. Her parents say she was more than a little frightened by the ordeal.

"When I see her, she gave me a big hug and started crying," Junaid said. "She was very afraid."

As the Mirzas demand answers, the school is refusing comment. But the Board of Education acted immediately, saying, "The driver and the matron have been suspended. The incident is under investigation. We are taking this seriously."

Police were questioning the 78-year-old bus driver, but the bus company also offered no comment.

That is not what the Mirzas wanted to hear.

"I am very scared," Junaid said when asked if he would put his daughter on the bus again. "Very scared."