Monday, April 26, 2010

Maryland boy with autism trapped on bus for several hours

From Fox-TV in D.C.:

WHITE PLAINS, Md. - An 11-year old special needs student with autism was trapped on board a school bus for more than two hours.

The incident occurred on April 16 in a parking lot about 18 miles from the school of Dalonte Smith (pictured). However, Smith’s mother only found out about it this week because her son’s condition prevented him from telling her about it and the school system says it had trouble tracking her down.

Smith attends classes for special needs students at Robert Stethem Education Center in White Plains, Md. He takes a school bus from his home in Waldorf every morning but did not get off his bus when it arrived on campus around 8 a.m. But the driver and another bus attendant on board drove to a parking lot 18 miles away from the school. Two and a half hours later, other drivers noticed Smith was on the bus.

The school bus in question is operated by Edwin Keller Bus Service, one of a number of private companies that contract with the Charles County school system.

The woman who answered the phone at the office of Keller’s office said they had no comment. School district spokeswoman Katie O'Malley Simpson says the driver and attendant will no longer drive and transport for Charles County Schools.

Smith's mother says he suffers from asthma and may have fallen asleep on the bus but she says that does not excuse what happened.