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Special Needs Student Left Locked In Cold Bus For Hours In Manhattan

Driver, Matron Arrested, Suspended; 11-Year-Old Vows To Keep Riding The Bus
Special needs student Derek Bueno, 11, was left on a school bus to fend for himself for hours on March 19, 2013. (Photo: CBS 2)

Special needs student Derek Bueno, 11, was left on a school bus to fend for himself for hours on March 19, 2013. (Photo: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was a school bus shocker in Manhattan. A special needs student was locked on his bus for hours. By the time he was found, he was so cold, school officials called 911.

CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez spoke with the boy and his mother, who wants the bus driver punished.

Derek Bueno still rides a bus with no fear, despite his frightening experience getting trapped on a cold bus Tuesday morning.

“No matron. No bus driver. No other kids on the bus. It was just nothing … nobody,” the 11-year-old said Wednesday.

Bueno, who is autistic, fell asleep on his way to Mickey Mantle School on the Upper West Side. Police said the bus driver and matron didn’t check the bus when they left it in front of the school.

Bueno’s mother said she’s furious and wants them punished.

“I was nervous, horrified. That’s their job. They take special needs kids. They should be able to look, check the bus to make sure everybody’s out,” Cindy Rivera said.

The Department of Education said the school noticed Bueno was missing from class. The sixth grader said he was locked inside the bus for more than two hours with no heat and no food, before the matron finally opened the door.

“They reacted like they saw a ghost!” Bueno said.

“They took him upstairs to the nurse to check his temperature. His blood pressure was too low and then they called 911,” Rivera added.

Bueno’s mother said the driver and matron had just recently taken over her son’s bus route. Both were arrested and charged with failing to exercise control of a minor, and were suspended from their jobs.

“I’m still nervous. Even though he got on the bus again I’m still afraid the same thing might happen again,” Rivera said.

Bueno kept his brave face on Wednesday, insisting he’d continue riding the bus to school.

The bus driver was officially charged in court Wednesday and was released on his own recognizance.

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