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Michigan Student with Special Needs Forgotten, Left on School Bus

A student with disabilities was forgotten and left on a parked Livonia Public Schools bus for nearly four hours, and her mother remains upset at the number of mistakes made by the district that day, reported The Detroit News.

The incident reportedly occurred last week when 5-year-old Jemi Gittins rode the school bus to attend a special needs Kindergarten class at Grant Elementary School.

Stacy Gittins, the girl’s mother, said her daughter boarded the bus around 8:15 a.m. and she noticed the driver was a substitute that day.

According to the news report, Gittins received a call at approximately 1 p.m. letting her know that her daughter had been found inside the school bus alone at 12:28 p.m. Almost four hours after she had boarded the bus.

Gittins added that her daughter had heard a maintenance person working on a nearby bus and began knocking on her bus door saying, “Hello,” and “Where’s my mommy?” The maintenance worker helped the girl off the bus and took her to the office.

Gittins said via the article that the district “dropped the ball across the board” in terms of following protocol. “No attendance [in class] was taken. No phone call that she wasn’t at school that day, the bus was running late that morning, and all the helpers [who assisted students off the bus] went back into the office. The bus opened its door, the kids went in, and no one came and swept the bus to look for students or left backpacks then just placed an ‘empty’ sign on it.”

On Monday, Jemi, who is not verbal and cannot advocate for herself, reportedly refused to take the bus, so her mother drove her to school, instead. On Tuesday, the regular driver returned to the route and Jemi agreed to board the bus.

Gittins said she wants to see the district improve its procedures on all buses for all children.

Related: Florida School Bus Driver Arrested After Girl is Left on Bus, Drove Around for Hours
Related: Illinois Child Left On School Bus After Falling Asleep
Related: How Are Children Left On School Buses? Neuroscientist Provides Perspective
Related: Arkansas Preschooler Left Alone on School Bus

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