‘It’s atrocious’: Parents outraged after special needs student left on hot bus for hours

LOWELL, MASS. (WHDH) - Lowell School District officials said a bus driver is now off the job after a kindergarten student with special needs was left alone on a hot school bus Monday morning for five hours.

Police responded at around 1:15 p.m. to the McAvinnue Elementary School on Mammoth Road for a report of a student who had been left on a bus earlier in the morning.

Police said a driver for the Dracut-based SPNR Transportation completed a morning route, which included a drop-off at the school, before returning home with the bus.

The driver found the 5-year-old boy on-board the bus five hours later when he began his afternoon route, according to police. Temperatures reached 82 degrees on Monday.

Sources said the driver was seen on bus surveillance cameras not following protocol.

Lowell Mayor Ed Kennedy said the driver did not check to see if students were still on board when he completed his route.

“We have zero tolerance for that and so the bus driver is no longer driving in Lowell,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said the school did notify the boy’s parents that he never showed up for class Wednesday and for five hours, no one could locate where the boy was. The boy was evaluated by the school nurse and found to be well.

Parents say they are outraged by the news.

“How do you get off the bus and not check to see if their is another life on the bus. That was five hours. That child could have passed away,” one parent told 7News.

“I think it’s atrocious. I think the driver should be charged,” another parent said.

“I don’t even think I will allow my child on the bus anymore,” Yarrette Morales said.

The Department of Children and Families and the Lowell School Department were notified. The incident is under investigation.

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