‘How Can You Be So Neglectful’: Parents Speak Out After 2 Students Left Behind On Paterson School Buses In 2 Days

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It’s the fourth day of school for students in Paterson, New Jersey but it hasn’t been a smooth start for some.

Parents are concerned after two students were left behind on school buses in two days.

On Tuesday morning, attendants and Paterson school staff were checking their lists twice after each child got off the school bus, providing an extra set of eyes after the unexplainable mistake. Those mistakes have already lead to serious consequences.

On Monday, a 6-year-old boy fell asleep on the bus on the way to the Urban Leadership Academy. The driver and attendant with A-1 Elegant bus company realized they still had a student on board as they went to retrieve other students and had to turn around.

That was after a girl in kindergarten headed to Dale Avenue School fell asleep Friday morning.

In that case, employees of U.S. Student bus company only realized she was still on board when they were buying gas.

Parents say they can’t imagine how that child must have been feeling.

“Oh God I know she probably was so scared you know, just, ‘Where is everybody at? What’s going on?'” said parent Lakeima Morton. “How can you be so neglectful?”

It happened to Desyre Sanchez’s son, Elijah, when he was in first grade. He was picked up at home and taken to the wrong school.

“My heart dropped, I’m like ‘What do you mean my son didn’t make it to school? He got on the bus,'” Sanchez said.

It was an issue she says wasn’t handled properly at the time.

The current Superintendent of Schools Eileen Schafer has met with every bus company in the district with a strict warning.

“There’s two people on the bus that could do it, the driver or the aide, and neither one did it, and I hate to say this but it wasn’t even a 54 passenger bus, it was a little 16 passenger van,” Schafer said.

The two bus drivers and two aides have been fired.

It’s something Sanchez is happy to hear.

“She’s tough, and I like her,” Sanchez said. “She’s been very on it. Had it been the old one, they probably wouldn’t have done anything. This is not the first time it’s happened, it’s the first time it’s getting attention.”

Both bus companies will be fined.

Schafer said if it happens again, within either company they will lose their contract to work with the Paterson School District.

A-1 Elegant Tours released a statement Monday apologizing. The company said the student was never left alone, and was immediately driven back to the school upon being spotted.

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