MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The parents of a boy with special needs are speaking out after he was allegedly left on his bus, hours after he should have been dropped off at school in north Minneapolis.
“I’m angry,” said LaSandra Parker, the boy’s mother. “I am in disbelief. I’m sad for my son. I am scared.”
Parker has so many questions about what happened on her son’s special needs bus Thursday.
“It’s all coming back just because I’m thinking about him, how he felt in that whole situation, how scared was he?” said Parker.
Seven-year-old Miles, who is on the autism spectrum and can’t communicate verbally, was allegedly left strapped into his seat for nearly an entire school day. The driver and an aide apparently didn’t account for the youngster after making their run to Jenny Lind Elementary in the morning.
The bus, operated by Metropolitan Transportation Network, was then returned to the garage. Still nobody noticed, until someone with Metropolitan Transportation spotted the child still harnessed in his bus seat about five hours later.
“He would’ve been hysterical,” said Parker. “He can’t unstrap himself. He doesn’t know how that works. I am sure he was jumping up and down in his seat thrashing around.”
"My son could've died yesterday,” said Steven Berglund, Miles’ father. “Literally, I could have got a call at work instead of hearing my wife hysterical and hearing what happened. I could have heard Miles is dead. There's no coming back from that."
Both the school district and the bus company reported to Fox 9 that investigations are underway into what happened and why.
Metropolitan Transportation Network released the following statement, in part:
"The situation that occurred Thursday is simply unacceptable. We want the community to know that student safety is of paramount importance to us. We are doing everything we can to ensure that these types of situations do not occur in the future."
Minneapolis Public Schools released the following statement:
"We are investigating this situation to fully understand what happened and why. We understand that families trust when a child leaves home for school each day they will be cared for and kept safe — and we recognize student safety as a priority. Our standard procedure for drivers, including contracted drivers, is to check for children on the bus before exiting. The idea of any child being left unattended on a bus is absolutely unacceptable. We are confident our investigation will determine the facts of this particular report and the District will take appropriate actions based on our findings. We are unable to share any additional, specific details about the student or staff involved due to data privacy laws."
Miles’ parents want police to investigate for possible child endangerment violations.
Thankfully, a day later the boy appears to be okay, but for LaSandra and Steven, trust has been shattered.