MORRILTON, Ark. (KTHV) - An emotional superintendent talks to THV after a child is left on a school bus for an entire day just a few feet from his office.
It happened in the South Conway County School District. The child arrived home hungry, tired but otherwise okay telling her parents how she spent the day on the school bus in the parking lot. Now the district is already looking for ways to make sure it never happens again.
"My heart just breaks that we didn't live up to the standard that we want in terms of safety," says Superintendent Shawn Halbrook.
He says a kindergarten student who fell asleep on the way to school never made it off the bus.
"She stayed on the bus all day. We don't know how long she was asleep but when she woke up, they were frightened, scared, felt like they were going to get in trouble so they just stayed on the bus," says Halbrook.
Halbrook says the little girl finally got off at her home that afternoon. The bus driver never knew she spent the day inside the bus in a parking lot.
"That terrifies me," says Jamie Winston, a mother of three that attend South Conway County schools. She says her 1st grader rides the bus everyday and can't imagine getting the same news.
"It's completely possible that my children could fall asleep on the bus and that she didn't have anything to eat all day. Yeah, it just terrifies me," says Winston.
"It's very preventable and I'm sure it was just an accident but yeah, if they would just walk the buses that would be an easy fix," says parent Shannon Taylor.
They are fixes Halbrook says the district is working on even considering a buzzer system that would force drivers to walk the bus every time it's parked. Anything to make sure this never happens again.
"The South Conway County School District takes full responsibility for what happened. We fell far short of the standard of safety we have held for ourselves," says Halbrook.
The district has launched a full investigation into what happened. As for any personnel action against the driver, he says they will make that decision when the investigation is complete.
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