Jones County school system officials and the local sheriffs office are looking into how a 10-year-old special needs student was left on a school bus for several hours Tuesday.
The boy, who attends Dames Ferry Elementary, boarded a school bus between 6:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. and should have been dropped off at school by about 8 a.m., Jones County schools Superintendent William Mathews said Wednesday.
However, the bus driver didnt discover the child until about 1 p.m. while getting ready for the afternoon bus route.
Afterward, a school nurse checked the child and did not find any serious harm to him, Mathews said.
The districts special education and transportation directors took the child home later in the afternoon, Mathews said.
School officials are looking into what happened, and Mathews said it did not appear that the bus driver followed standard procedure of walking to the back of the bus at the end of the morning route. She was supposed to make sure there werent any students on board and check the back door to make sure it was locked.
Mathews said he was told the driver wanted to check on a family member in the hospital Tuesday and was distraught before the incident.
The driver, who was new to the job but had previously worked as a bus aide, has been placed on leave while the case is under investigation, Mathews said.
Mathews did not give the students name or provide details about the students special needs. He also said he did not have the name of the driver.
The Jones County Sheriffs Office is conducting interviews, and no charges have been filed, said Earl Humphries, a sheriffs investigator.
Mathews said the sheriffs office would be able to review the school districts videotapes related to the case.
Efforts to reach the boys mother for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday.
To contact writer Andrea Castillo, call 744-4331.