A bus driver for the San Diego Unified School District has been placed on leave after the boy's mother said the driver left her 11-year-old son unattended in a hot bus.
An investigation into the incident is underway, school officials said in a statement.
Still, the boy’s mom is outraged by what she describes as a “cover-up.” She said the principal had told her it wasn’t considered a serious incident.
“I’m not interested in hearing any more lies, any more cover-ups. You know, it is what it is. People make mistakes; it happens,” said mom Ena Walters of Lemon Grove. “But for someone to say it wasn’t a serious matter and to try to maybe sweep it under the rug or cover it up — no. Unacceptable.”
The boy, who is hearing impaired, was on the bus on the way to summer school on Monday morning at Walt Whitman Elementary School when he fell asleep. He was found by another bus driver wandering the bus facility yard.
“He was confused, and he had woken up because of the heat inside of the bus,” she said. “He said he wasn’t really scared. He was just confused, because he didn’t know where to go or what to do.”
Walters said she suspects the bus driver did not realize he was asleep on the bus.
Once the boy was found, Walters said the district’s transportation department contacted her, letting her know her son was safe and on the way to school. In all, the boy had been left in the bus alone for 10 minutes, school officials said.
The district and principal have been working closely with the parents to alleviate their concerns, the district's statement said. The principal told NBC 7 that it was a misunderstanding, but declined to comment further.
“The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority,” district spokeswoman Linda Zintz said in the statement. “The transportation department will be providing additional training and implementing additional safeguards to prevent future incidents.”