NewsCall 6 Investigates

Actions

At least 221 students have been left on Indiana school buses since 2009, but 2018 was the worst year

Posted: 10:47 AM, Apr 19, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-19 23:23:19Z
Environmental groups support school radon tests
Man transformes school buses into homes

INDIANAPOLIS –New numbers obtained by Call 6 Investigates show 221 incidents of children left on school buses since 2009. That's when the law went into effect requiring school districts and bus companies to report those incidents to the Indiana Department of Education within five working days.

But last year was the worst year on record for the problem - with schools reporting 32 separate incidents of students left unattended on school buses.

Statewide Incidents of Child/Children Left on a School Bus

  • 2019 – 11
  • 2018 – 32
  • 2017 – 24
  • 2016—19
  • 2015 - 21
  • 2014 - 18
  • 2013 - 27
  • 2012 - 20
  • 2011 - 22
  • 2010 - 18
  • 2009 - 9

Most recently, several concerned citizens contacted RTV6 about an Anderson Community Schools student that was left on a school bus on April 12.

Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith said all incidents of children being left unattended on a school bus have been reported to the Department of Education according to state law.

“This has been and always will be our practice for ACS,” said Dr. Smith.

Anderson Community Schools reported the 2019 incident one day after it happened, on April 13.

Records show Anderson Community Schools had previously reported incidents of students unattended on school buses in September 2018 and December 2015.

The 2015 incident involved a bus driver who was ill when she arrived at school and did not walk the bus to assure that all students were off.

In the 2015 incident, a child had fallen asleep and woke up after the driver got off the bus to go into the restroom.

The child was left unattended for 5-7 minutes, records show.

The driver was fired in the 2015 incident.

In general, these events often involve children falling asleep and drivers failing to perform a post-trip inspection of the bus.

Other examples include bus drivers stopping at home or a store and leaving children alone inside the school bus.

2019 Incidents of Children Left Unattended on Buses

Date Reported

Date of Incident

Corporation Reporting

4/13/2019

4/12/2019

ANDERSON COMM. SCHOOL CORP.

4/8/2019

4/8/2019

SHELBYVILLE CENTRAL SCHOOLS

3/13/2019

3/13/2019

MILLER TRANSPORTATION

3/5/2019

2/27/2019

DURHAM SCHOOL SERVICES - INDPLS

2/27/2019

2/21/2019

DURHAM SCHOOL SERVICES - INDPLS

2/25/2019

2/15/2019

NORTHWESTERN SCHOOL CORP.

2/20/2019

2/6/2019

LAKE CENTRAL SCHOOL CORP.

1/29/2019

1/29/2019

HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN SCHOOLS

1/18/2019

1/18/2019

VIGO COUNTY SCHOOL CORPORATION

1/14/2019

12/20/2018

SCHOOL CITY OF HAMMOND

1/10/2019

1/8/2019

EVANSVILLE-VANDERBURGH SCH COR

The law doesn’t require school districts to disclose how long a child is left, but incidents statewide examined by Call 6 Investigates showed times that ranged from a few minutes to several hours.

Lawmakers thought the bill would boost transparency and, more importantly, cut down on the number of children left behind, but Call 6 Investigates uncovered that’s not the case.

School districts are required to report only a few details, and the state has no punishment in place for schools who fail to disclose when a child is left alone on the bus.

A previous analysis by Call 6 Investigates found 55 percent of bus drivers who left a child alone lost their jobs or resigned, and 45 percent were disciplined in some way and kept their jobs.

Though parents can't find out online if a child has been left by their bus driver, they can request that information directly from the state Department of Education.

Parents can also ask a school district whether a child’s bus driver has had any incidents.