2nd grader wakes up on empty school bus, waits for driver before mom finds out

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

An Ypsilanti Township parent is criticizing Lincoln Consolidated Schools leaders after her 7-year-old son was left alone on a district bus for nearly two hours this week.

"I'm very upset that this has happened," Tiera Hutson said. "Anything could have happened."

On Monday, after spending the night with his father, her son Braylen boarded the bus early Monday to head to Childs Elementary, she said.

Hutson noticed the child had left his backpack at home but when she went to the school to give it to him, staffers said he wasn't there. After confirming that the bus had reached the school, she learned from staffers that the second-grader had apparently been left behind when the driver returned to a district transportation lot about a mile away.

The boy appeared to have fallen asleep, but the district's superintendent, Sean McNatt, told Hutson that drivers are required to check their buses twice to ensure all students have exited.

An "empty" sign had been raised on Braylen's bus indicating that happened, Hutson said. The bus driver "did not (check), resulting in my son being unattended and alone for two hours."

Braylen was not alarmed and "knew that the bus driver had to get back on the bus to pick the children up," his mother said.

McNatt, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday, told WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) that an investigation into the incident was underway.

 "We’re very sorry that happened. We have procedures in place to prevent this and it sounds like one of the procedures wasn’t followed through," he told the station.

Hutson wants more action taken and said he won't be taking the bus to school, which ends for the school year on Friday.

"It's not fair for this to happen and they just get a slap on the wrist," she said. "I don’t think that’s acceptable."