For the second time this month, a special-needs student in Arizona is left on a bus for hours in the stifling triple-digit desert heat.
This time it happened Aug. 16, the first day of class at Greenway High School.
A bus with 12 students arrived, but only 11 got off. A 14-year-old ninth-grader with special needs apparently laid down on one of the seats during the drive and fell asleep, according to school transportation officials.
"The driver and assistant that were on board failed to complete a visual inspection of the bus," said Kevin Riddle, transportation director for the Greenway Unified High School District.
The driver then made the five-mile trek to the district bus farm and parked.
"About two and a half hours later the student was found on the bus by one of our other drivers," Riddle said.
That means that from about 9 to 11:30 that morning, the student was in the sweltering bus with no air-conditioning and the windows closed. According to a weather station one mile from the school, the temperatures during that timeframe started at 95 degrees and rose to 103 degrees - and that was just the outside temperature.
"Believe it or not, (the student) was in extremely good shape," Riddle said. "He was brought into our office and cooled down and hydrated. We called our school nurse. She came over and checked him out."
Riddle said no one called 911 because the student "didn't exhibit any type of symptoms that would illicit that type of a response."
The district placed the bus driver and bus aide on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. The driver's commercial license is also under review by the department of Arizona Department of Public Safety.
"Well, obviously, it's a major concern for us and we want to make sure that it doesn't happen again," Riddle said.
The names of the driver, aide and student were not released.
The district said it notified the student's parents immediately and that so far, the parents have not filed any kind of formal complaint.
On Aug. 10, a special needs boy was accidentally locked in a van and left behind for about an hour by workers at a children's special needs school in Phoenix. He did not suffer any injuries.
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