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2 bus drivers, 2 aides fired after 2 children left sleeping on buses in Paterson

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N.J. Burkett reports from Paterson, New Jersey.

Two school bus drivers and two aides were fired after two students were found sleeping on their school buses in separate incidents.

"They should treat them like it was their own child, definitely," said Maritza Gastulo, a parent.

Parents were hearing the news for the first time Monday night.

One child is a first grader, the other, in kindergarten. Both fell asleep aboard their school buses in Paterson and went unnoticed for up to 90 minutes.

The first incident was with a 6-year-old girl on Friday, and the second incident with a 6-year-old boy on Monday.

Two kids, two schools, two bus companies, two bus drivers and two bus monitors. The superintendent of schools says once is bad enough. But twice?

"That cannot be forgiven," said Eileen Shafer, Paterson Schools Superintendent.

Superintendent Shafer says one student was found while the bus was on another route. The other child was discovered while the driver was getting gas.

"He found him when he was getting gas. Looked back, found the child, brought the child back to school," Shafer said.

Ms. Shafer says she ordered the drivers and monitors to her office and demanded an explanation.

"It was a 16-passenger van, that as an adult, could have walked it in about four to five steps, and I wanted to know why they didn't do it," Shafer said. "They couldn't explain it, they could not explain why they didn't do it," Shafer said.

"We're also asking staff, district staff, to actually meet the buses when they show up, and actually watch the bus drivers and the bus companies walk the bus," said Christopher Irving, Paterson School Board President.

The two companies US Student and A1 Elegant fired the drivers and monitors and the companies were each fined $1,000.

Gastulo, whose daughter attends one of the schools, says parents deserve better.

"After they drop the kids off double check to see if there's any kids left, you never know what could happen," Gastulo said.

Related Topics:
educationbus driverschool busstudentskindergartenPaterson
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