- Evan Clifford, 11, fell asleep on a bus on his way to Quarryville Elementary School, in Quarryville, Pennsylvania, on Monday morning.
- The driver, a school-appointed bus aide, and school personnel did not see Evan as they cleared the bus at school.
- Evan woke up after the driver had parked the bus at her home. He didn’t know where he was and tried to hitchhike home.
- Two women found Evan on the side of the road and helped him call his mother.
- The bus driver was fired following the incident.
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A school bus driver in Pennsylvania has been fired after an elementary student with Down syndrome was left on board after falling asleep and tried to hitchhike home.
Dana Clifford told WGAL that her son, 11-year-old Evan Clifford, was left on a bus after falling asleep on the way to Quarryville Elementary School, in Quarryville, Pennsylvania, on Monday morning.
Bus company Eshbach Busing said that a driver, a school-appointed bus aide, and school personnel did not see the boy when the driver dropped students off at the school in the Solanco School District.
The driver then drove home and parked the bus. It was then that Evan woke up, having no idea where he was.
Clifford said Evan walked to a highway and tried to hitchhike home, but was saved by two women who asked if he needed help.
“I can’t imagine how you cannot check and can just miss a child,” Clifford told WGAL. “He could have been raped or murdered.”
Clifford said Evan knows his mother’s phone number, and the women who found him on the highway helped him get in touch with her.
The bus company apologized for the incident in a statement to WGAL.
“The bus aide was dropped off at her house and our driver proceeded to park her bus at her house without performing a required post trip bus inspection. Unfortunately, the sleeping student was left on the bus as the driver entered her home. This is unacceptable and we apologize for jeopardizing student safety. The bus driver has been terminated for failing to follow safety protocol. We will work with the school district to make sure this will never happen again,” the statement said.
The bus driver has not been publicly named.
Evan’s father, Joshua Clifford, told ABC 27 that he hopes schools will equip buses with alarms to ensure no one is left behind.
“If you shut the bus off and try to get out of the door, you have to go all the way to the back of the bus to hit a button so the alarm shuts off and you can get out,” he said of the alarm system. “This cannot happen to another child.”
The Cliffords have met with school district officials to discuss its transportation methods.
Solanco School District officials told WGAL that it is working with the bus company to “address this personnel matter.”
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