RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond school administrators are investigating a four-year-old child left on a city school bus, and then found wandering alone in a neighborhood, Monday morning.
Richmond school heads are deeply apologizing, and pledging to work to make sure this never happens again.
"There's no excuse for us, absolutely no excuse…to have a student be unaccounted for in exiting a bus. That should not happen," said assistant superintendent Tommy Kranz, of Richmond Public Schools.
Kranz says the bus driver, and a bus attendant, dropped off the kids at Maymont Elementary's preschool program Monday morning. The driver then took the bus to his or her home in the Fulton neighborhood.
"Apparently this four year old was on the bus, got up, opened the door, and then proceeded walking down the street," explained Kranz.
A neighbor spotted the child and called police. The preschooler is safe. However, many concerns are now unleashed.
"We have to work twice as hard to get that trust and confidence back. And we'll do it one step at a time, one transportation route at a time," added Kranz.
Nieka Bowers is a former school bus monitor for Maymont Elementary. She explains that an alarm is supposed to go off when the bus is turned off, forcing the driver and bus monitor to walk the length of the bus to deactivate it. This is supposed to prompt the driver to check the bus for any students.
"The driver gets out of the seat, walks to the back. The monitor does also. You walk to the back and make sure no kids fell asleep. They might be laying on the floor, anything. You walk back there and you make sure there are no kids left on the bus," said Bowers.
"Our main goal has to be the safe and secure transportation of every student assigned to us. Those students are their parent's most precious gift. Our job is to take care of that gift in the manner that we should, and we didn't do it today," said Kranz.