Edgefield County mother says her special needs child was left on school bus

Published: Jan. 23, 2018 at 4:28 PM EST
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Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018

(News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 News at 7)

EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) – Seven-year-old Joslyn Bush gets to Johnston Elementary School at 7:45 a.m. every morning.

But yesterday, her mom says, she was somewhere else.

“Joslyn is a special needs child so she has an assigned bus seat, she sits on the third seat every morning in the front of the bus, so it shouldn’t be no reason why she was left on that bus.”

Renee Bush is Joslyn’s mother. She says Joslyn was left on the school bus at Jet Middle School, sleeping, for almost two hours.

“I was at work yesterday for like 12 hours and I got a call 7:30 at night saying that my daughter was abandoned on the school bus, I was traumatized.”

The Edgefield County School District says Joslyn was never alone. The bus driver continued his other routes, not knowing she was on the bus sleeping.

In a statement given to News 12, the district says:

Bush doesn’t buy that story. She was told Joslyn was left in the bus parking lot.

“She could’ve gone into a spasm, anything could’ve happened. She could’ve gotten disoriented, I mean a lot of children with autism do get disoriented and like I said, she could’ve wandered off that bus and got hit.”

When it came time to get back on the bus Tuesday morning, Bush says Joslyn didn’t want to.

“She’s scared to ride the school bus. She was traumatized last night, she was scared, and she didn’t want to talk about it really.”

Bush is relieved her daughter is okay, but it’s not enough.

“There should’ve been no reason why the bus driver didn’t check to see was everybody off that bus, and I just feel that the bus driver needs to either resign or be terminated.”

Joslyn’s mom reached out to the school board and says she was told the same thing that we were told in the statement they gave us. Renee Bush says the timeframe doesn’t make sense and she is going to take things further with the district to get some more of her questions answered.

Read the full statement from the school district:

“Yesterday, January 22, 2018, a student who attends Johnston Elementary School fell asleep on the bus during the morning route.  This student did not exit the bus with her fellow students when it arrived at the school at approximately 7:20 a.m.  After the other students exited the bus, the bus driver immediately began the second route of the morning to pick up middle and high school students.  During that route, the driver discovered that the elementary student was on the bus.  After completing the middle and high school route, the driver transported the student to Johnston Elementary School and personally escorted her into the building.  The driver signed the student into school at 8:10 a.m.

At no time was a student left unattended on the school bus.  In fact, at no time was the student ever left unattended.

The District regrets that the driver did not realize the student was asleep on the bus, but at no time was the student alone or in danger.  The driver took all appropriate steps to ensure that the student remained safe and was delivered safely to school.”