NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A boy with special needs was kept on a school bus for nearly five hours in Brooklyn three weeks ago, and now the family is demanding answers from the bus company.
6-year-old Dominic Czaplinski has autism and ADHD. He was in much better spirits Tuesday than he was when his family says he was picked up from PS 369 in Fort Greene two hours late, around 4:30 pm.
He then spent nearly five hours stuck on the bus with a substitute driver behind the wheel.
“We were crazy, we were going insane,” grandmother Sheryl Chavez says. “I thought I was never going to see him again.”
Chavez and the rest of Dominic’s family were anxiously calling the dispatcher at New Dawn Transit. They even texted the bus matron on board to track Dominic down, but they kept getting the runaround.
After a few hours passed, they even called police. Dominic did eventually get home, but it was almost 9:30 at night. It was past his bedtime and he hadn’t used the bathroom or eaten in hours.
“Why was he on the bus for almost five hours,” Chavez asked. “He was on a dark bus with people he didn’t know.”
CBS2 tried to get answers directly from New Dawn Transit’s office in Bergen Beach, but instead they were kicked off the property. A manager said to contact the company’s spokesperson, who said the driver was new and got lost en route.
The spokesperson added the company has since refreshed its staff on drop-off procedures and communication with dispatch.
“We wanna make sure this doesn’t happen to him or any children,” Chavez said.
The family filed a complaint with the city’s Office of Pupil Transportation. The department says it’s actively investigating and will take action if needed.