Family of 5-year-old left on Oldham County school bus releases s - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Family of 5-year-old left on Oldham County school bus releases statement

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The parents of a 5-year-old boy have released a statement to WDRB after their special needs son was left alone on the back of an Oldham County school bus on April 21, 2014:

As you can all imagine, this was a horrifying and traumatic experience for our entire family. Being told that our son was missing was an absolutely horrific and terrible experience that we wish never be repeated. While we are grateful that our child was found before he sustained life threatening physical injuries as a result of being left on the bus, we remain very concerned at the lasting effects of the emotional and psychological trauma he experienced. We have sought professional help for the trauma he suffered and hope that he can get better over time. Because he has special needs, this process is challenging and difficult for all involved.

Our first and foremost concern is for his recovery and well-being.

Our second concern is that this happened at all. It is hard to fathom how two well-trained adults could abandon a child for hours like this. We are concerned that paramedics and police were not called immediately to the bus depot upon finding him so that he could receive prompt medical attention at the scene and so that a police report could be taken at that time. We want to work with the school system to ensure that procedures and safeguards are in place so that this never happens to any child again.

We also hope that this highlights the need for better services and training in the care of our special needs children in the county, and we question why he was moved from a separate special needs bus to the regular pre-school bus, despite his special needs. Further, why weren’t parents called when he did not show up for school?

At this point we have a complete lack of trust in the system that allowed this to happen. We have spoken with Superintendent Wells by telephone on several occasions and hope to be in a position to sit down with him in the near future. We ask that everyone, especially the media respect our privacy and allow us the space to recover and rehabilitate our child without prying eyes and questions. We ask that anyone with questions please contact our attorney, Eric Craig of Weber & Rose, PSC.

The school district says the child was left alone for at least three hours, and was later treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration. Superintendent Will Wells tells us they cannot comment on the case because the family has hired an attorney, but did release the following statement:

"Our primary concern remains this young child's well-being. We empathize with the family and we look forward to continuing our conversation with the parents.

We are reviewing our policies and practices to ensure that this does not happen again. Certainly, we learned some very important lessons and are thankful the situation did not end in tragedy."

Oldham County Police are still investigating the incident. The bus driver and monitor have since both resigned.

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