A Connecticut school bus driver was fired after allegedly leaving a special needs student, six, alone on the bus, NBC Connecticut reports. On June 29, Guillermo Garcia was said to have been responsible for transporting students from Webb Elementary School to their homes.
Garcia, 34, a driver for Access Transportation who holds a contract with the Wethersfield Board of Education for a summer school program, allegedly failed to execute his job properly when he left a special needs boy, of Wethersfield, on the bus alone for half an hour.
Police say that Garcia didn’t notice that the boy had fallen asleep on the bus, and he, therefore, drove to the bus yard in Glastonbury, parked the school bus and left.
The child’s mother later called the Wethersfield Police Department to make a report about her son not returning home from school. During which time, an employee with Access Transportation was walking pass the school bus in the yard when he heard a child crying and found the special needs boy by himself on the bus, according to Glastonbury Police Sgt. Corey Davis.
Holly Annino, the director for Access Transportation, stated that she was “shocked, angry, and mortified” after learning that a school bus driver left a special needs student on the bus in the sunny, 83-degree weather.
The director went on to say that Garcia was immediately fired. Their company requires all school bus drivers to examine the bus multiple times to ensure that all children have been dropped off at their designated location.
When Access Transportation reviewed surveillance footage from the school bus, it was determined that Garcia did not follow to protocol.
Annino added that all school bus drivers have training every month as well as safety meetings on the third Friday of the month. “This is something that’s not tolerated, and you don’t get a second chance at something like this,” she said.
After the special needs child was left on the Connecticut school bus, Access Transportation held an emergency safety meeting to go over what transpired with the staff. They also reached out to the boy’s family, as well as the Wethersfield Board of Education, to offer an apology.
The Wethersfield Superintendent released the following statement:
“The district’s ESY program was housed at Webb Elementary School. The district still utilizes Access as a contracted transportation provider, however, the driver was terminated on the day in which the incident occurred.”
“The district expects that all drivers from our contracted transportation providers follow protocol to ensure that all students are accounted for.”
Authorities say the boy was not injured after being left on the school bus alone.
The Glastonbury school bus driver was later arrested for leaving a child on the bus, and his bond was set at $5,000.
Garcia is set to make a court appearance on August 30.
[Featured Image by Diane Labombarbe/iStock]