Child with special needs left in van for 4 hours en route to Revere school
The state’s Department of Children and Families is investigating a van driver and monitor who, after taking children to school, left a young child with special needs unattended for about four hours in the van Tuesday in Revere.
The child, who was strapped into a booster seat, was supposed to be dropped off at school, but the driver and monitor failed to see the child before parking the van at their company and leaving, Revere School Superintendent Dianne Kelly said.
The child, who fell asleep in the seat, was left in the van for a little over four hours, Kelly added.
When the employees returned to the van for their afternoon route, they discovered the child still in their seat and awake, Kelly said.
Kelly said the bus driver involved in Tuesday’s incident was not the driver who usually works the routes, she said. The usual driver was not working Tuesday for a reason Kelly did not know, she said.
Kelly said the child was brought to her office around 1 p.m. The youth was “awake, laughing, and in good spirits,” she said.
Kelly immediately called 911 and had emergency medical personnel examine the child, she said. Medical responders offered to take the child to a hospital for further evaluation, but the youth’s mother did not feel it was necessary. The child was later taken home.
The Department of Children and Families “received a report on this situation and is investigating,” a spokesperson said.
Revere police are also investigating the incident. Officers were not immediately available for comment.
The van involved in the incident belongs to a contractor of the Revere schools, called V.S.P. Livery Service, which is based in Saugus.
Police and the state are investigating the driver, who is employed by V.S.P., a transportation service throughout Greater Boston, Kelly said.
A spokesperson for V.S.P. said the driver involved did not follow the policies they were “fully trained on” and was immediately fired.
“Yesterday, an unfortunate incident occurred,” spokesman Marc E. Chapdelaine said in a statement. “We are fully cooperating with the City of Revere to understand how we can better serve our community. We respect the responsibility that comes with driving a school bus, and we are honored to serve the parents and children of our community. Our hearts go out to the family.”
The monitor on duty during the incident is an employee of the Revere schools and was placed on paid administrative leave for the remainder of the investigation, Kelly said.
“We immediately called in our own bus drivers and monitors for an emergency meeting to review protocols,” Kelly said. “Everyone needs to get up physically and look in every seat to make sure all the kids are where they belong.”