Nye County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a school bus driver after she failed to drop off a 4-year-old special education student, leaving the child in the parked bus unattended.
The Nye County School District bus driver Kristina Mann has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
The sheriff’s office said that it is investigating Mann for a possible charge of child neglect for the incident that occurred on Dec. 14.
The sheriff’s office said that Mann left the student on the bus after dropping the other students who were on board off at a local elementary school. A student aide, who was also present on the bus to the school prior to leaving the child behind, is on administrative leave. However, the aide is not the focus of the investigation by the sheriff’s office at this time and was not named.
After dropping off the students, Mann drove the bus back to the bus yard, located off of Highway 372 and South Woodchips Drive, where the child was left. Another employee discovered the child in the bus about an hour later, according to police.
The child was transported to its school where it completed its school day, the sheriff’s office stated.
Mann has not been arrested at this time, but the sheriff’s office said that the investigation is ongoing.
Cameron McRae, director of transportation for the school district, said the longtime bus driver completed her route and for undetermined reasons did not drop off the 4-year-old child at the school. He confirmed the child was a special education student.
“The student was left secure in the bus seat,” McRae said. “It’s unfortunate circumstance and should have never happened. There’s a procedure and a process that they’re supposed to do to keep that from happening, and the staff on the bus did not do it.
“The fortunate thing is that the student was fine and the school district took all the appropriate actions as required by law and reported it to the sheriff’s office and child protective services and they do whatever they do after we reported it.”
McRae wouldn’t comment on the exact length of the suspension for Mann, but he said this type of infraction carries a suspension of up to 20 days.
McRae carried out an investigation and took the administrative action himself and determined that a suspension was fit for the incident, He did say that firing the employee was an option.
“Yes, the bus driver certainly could’ve been terminated for that lapse of performance,” McRae said. “I’m the director of transportation and this action was done at my level based upon my authority to manage and discipline employees under the labor agreement for which they work.”
This is the second time that McRae could remember that a child was left on a bus in the school district, as he said there was an incident about 10 years ago. The driver in that case was also suspended.
Although the latest instance involves a special-needs student, McRae said that the treatment of the infraction wasn’t any different than if it were any other child.
“The failure of them to perform their duties as a bus driver is the same as a special ed student or another student,” he said.
Contact reporter Mick Akers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.