BIRDSBORO, Pa. (CBS) — Michelle Oquendo is holding her son Prince a little tighter after a scary bus mishap, on what was supposed to be his first day of kindergarten.
“He was so excited. So excited,” said Oquendo. I have pictures of him. He was ready to go.”
The 5-year-old ended up spending four and a half hours alone on the school bus in 85-degree temperatures after his bus driver neglected to drop him off at Monocacy Elementary Center.
“I cried myself to sleep,” Prince said. No one knew he was still on the bus until Oquendo called the school when the bus did not drop him off at noon. New Rhoads Transportation staff then checked the bus, which was sitting in the company lot.
“It was traumatizing to me. He was hot, sweaty. He didn’t even know who I was at first,” she said.
Daniel Boone Area School District Superintendent James Harris says the transportation company, contracted by the school district, immediately terminated the bus driver.
“Generally, the drivers check for backpacks, water bottles. The driver didn’t do that,” said Harris.
He adds that the district dropped the ball as well by not calling Oquendo when her son was marked as absent.
“It just goes to show how important our procedures are and transportations everyday in the safety of our kids.” Harris said. “We don’t need to be doing anything new. We just need to do what we are supposed to be doing.”
Little Prince will not be riding the bus anytime soon. “I’m going to be driving him back and forth to school. I don’t want him on any buses at all,” Oquendo said.