Special needs child found alone on school bus

July 20, 2011 4:45:55 PM PDT
Police say a 4-year-old special needs child was left on a bus after he was supposed to go to camp this morning in Jersey City.

The 4-year-old is presently said to be in good condition, happy and home with his family. The Jersey City Police Chief, Thomas Comey, is telling the public that there is some discrepancy about the exact time the bus picked the child up Wednesday morning. But what he can say for certain is that the young boy was on the bus, alone and in the heat for at least four hours.

It was just after 1 Wednesday afternoon, that a mechanic at the Atlantic Express bus yard, discovered the child on the bus. Emergency crews and the police were called. The child was taken to Christ Hospital where he was checked out and released again to his family. The police chief is telling the public that someone could face charges in this case.

"We have a school bus driver, and a school bus aid that we are presently questioning. Each of them has five and six years experience, with no previous disciplinary refractions on their record," Comey said.

This is still a very active investigation and the police department is telling the public that the school system and the bus company and cooperating fully and the child was headed to camp at PS 3. The chief says that one of the problems they are facing in this investigation is that the 4-year-old is a special needs child and they're having trouble communicating with him verbally. For instance, he hasn't been able to tell them how it is that he came to be left on the bus. Whether or not he fell asleep or whether or not there was some other incident or situation.

Atlantic Express Spokeswoman Carolyn Daly released a statement saying: "Our company has zero tolerance for any lapses in our strict protocols and policies for checking buses and making sure all children are accounted for. Children's safety is always our number one priority and we are grateful that our mechanic acted swiftly and valiantly to bring the child to safety. The driver and matron were immediately fired, and we are grateful the child is safe, healthy and well. We are also grateful to the Jersey City Police Department, Mayor Healy and the Department of Education for their swift action and response to the child's safety."