School bus driver left child on board

RENO (AP) - A Reno school bus driver has been fired after leaving a 4-year-old preschooler alone on a bus in a snowstorm for at least an hour last month.

An investigation determined the driver violated safety protocols by failing to do a full walkthrough to the back of the bus to be sure all students had exited, said Rick Harris, a Washoe County School District administrator who oversees transportation.

The mix-up on the last day of class before the holiday break was "a bad situation and it shouldn't have happened," Harris told a Reno newspaper. "We have zero tolerance for that type of thing. It's so critical to our operation."

Sherry Wilcox said she telephoned district transportation officials when her son, Tucker Moore, was more than a half hour late arriving home from Hunter Lake Elementary School where he is a special needs student.

Wilcox said officials initially told her the boy never got on the bus, but Tucker's teacher told her that he did.

Transportation officials later called back to say they had found Tucker crying on the bus alone, and two transportation supervisors drove him home, Wilcox said.

She said she is considering accepting $5,000 the district has offered her as compensation but she remains angry it ever occurred.

"Everyone has been really apologetic," she said. "And I don't mean to sound heartless, but 'I'm sorry' just doesn't begin to cover my 4-year-old special-needs child being left on the bus in the dark and the snow right before a holiday so a bus driver could begin their vacation early."

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