BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - — A Niagara mother looks for answers as she claims a school bus driver abandoned her child for several hours.
The mother of the 6-year-old boy, Jessica Schimek, says he was left at the Niagara Falls Coach Lines garage.
“So around 1:40, I got a call from the school saying your son was locked in a school bus the whole school day at the garage,” Schimek says. “And immediately, I started freaking out. Panicking like, where is my son? Is he okay?
Schimek tells us her son is developmentally delayed. He just stood inside the bus.
“I asked him what happened on the bus. He said he sat there singing songs, he took a nap, and he cleaned the bus,” she says. “I don’t know if there were chemicals on the bus.”
The mother couldn’t believe her son sat inside the cold bus for several hours.
“He was cold to the touch,” she expresses in disbelief. “Imagine how cold he was on the bus. Instead of calling the hospital and getting medical attention. The bus driver rushed him to the school to cover up their tracks because they panicked.”
The Niagara Falls City School District superintendent, Mark Laurrie, has no words for the bus driver’s actions.
“There’s a protocol whether it’s at a stop, school, or bus garage where the school bus driver walks from the front of the bus to the back of the bus and checks,” Laurrie says.
Laurrie spoke with the bus company, and he expects for the driver to have strong discipline.
He also agrees that the school bus footage should be looked into.
“It definitely needs a full review and correction that seems simple enough to say you must follow this portal,” he says. “I wouldn’t blame this on a bus shortage or speed or trying to get somewhere else. It was a lack of following protocol.
The mother of the student looks forward to holding the company accountable.
“I hope that they change. Maybe do some better training. Maybe hire better quality people that know how to work with kids with special needs,” Schimek says. “I just want them to be held accountable. I’m not going to let it go.”
The president of the bus company released a statement saying:
"Michael Dowd, President of Niagara Falls Coach Lines, spoke with the student's family to express regret in this apparent breach of safety protocol. Dowd said, “Student safety is paramount at NFCL, and the employees involved have been disciplined. Special emphasis on inspecting our buses after each run will be made at our upcoming bi-annual safety seminar."