2 children left on buses in Paterson within first week of school

Posted: Updated:
PATERSON -

Two Paterson children were left on school buses in separate incidents within the first week of school, according to school officials.

The last incident happened Monday when a 6-year-old was forgotten on the bus. Officials say that the boy was on his way to Urban Leadership Academy and fell asleep on a bus operated by A1 Elegant.

A Dale Avenue Elementary School kindergartener was found sleeping on a bus Friday. That bus was operated by the company U.S. Student.

Paterson Superintendent Eileen Shafer says that the school principals followed the correct protocols when the children didn’t show up to school, and called their parents. They were then able to determine that the students were most likely left on the buses.

Shafer says that these incidences of neglect are intolerable, and now she is putting all of the district's 21 bus companies on notice that bus contracts will be canceled if any future incidents happen.

The superintendent says that school bus companies are contractually obligated to check the bus for children.

"I made it very clear to them this morning that they signed off on this, and they agreed to do the walks on the bus after they drop the children off,” Shafer says. “I'm sure after we met today and after we put our own check in tomorrow, that this will not happen again"

In both cases the bus driver and aides were immediately fired and each bus company involved was fined $1,000. Shafer says that she has personally contacted and apologized to the families of both children.

The Paterson School District buses about 4,500 students to and from school.

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