Sleeping preschooler left on bus - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Sleeping preschooler left on bus

PLAINVIEW, Minn. (FOX 47) -- A bus driver is out of a job after a 4 year old falls asleep and wakes up in the garage. It happened Thursday afternoon when the child was on his way to preschool. 

It's part of protocol for Hiawathaland Transit drivers. A quick sweep of the bus to make sure no one is sound asleep and forgotten like 4-year-old Aiden was on Thursday afternoon.

"25 minutes later my son woke up on the bus and made his way to the office or outside the garage where he was found," said David Noehl, Aiden's father.

Neglecting to perform that quick sweep cost the driver a job. A statement from Hiawathaland Transit reads in part "We have terminated the driver for failing to follow our policies. We will be reminding all Hiawathaland Transit employees of the measures they need to take to prevent future incidents. We sincerely regret the incident."

David Noehl worries it may cause Aiden to dislike school. He attends a PEM preschool program a couple days a week.

"He liked going. Is he going to want to ride the bus tomorrow? Probably not. Am I going to have to take him everyday now? Maybe. I don't know," Noehl said.

Hiawathaland Transit said Aiden was found "unharmed and was returned to school for the remainder of the school day."

"I mean it's afternoon. He's used to a nap every now and then. He goes a couple days a week and when he does go. kids tend to fall asleep on the bus. It happens. I understand. That's why they're supposed to check," Noehl said.

Noehl said he's going to talk to his son but his future on the public buses is uncertain.

"I'm not going to make him go on the bus," Noehl said. "But hopefully he does. Hopefully it doesn't terrify him and hopefully it doesn't wreck his schooling for potentially this year and even potentially next year."

But Noehl says as a parent he just can't stop thinking about how a few seconds could have changed his little boy's day.

"They have called and personally apologized," Noehl said. "Apology accepted but the whole scenario is unacceptable."

Hiawathaland Transit is not affiliated with the PEM school district or their busing system.

Hiawathaland Transit's full statement reads, "Hiawathaland Transit's first priority is the safety of the children who ride our public transit vehicles. We have procedures in place to protect the children on our vehicles.  Unfortunately, one of our drivers left a child unattended on a bus for a few minutes, in violation of our procedures.  The child was unharmed and returned to school for the remainder of the school day. We have terminated the driver for failing to follow our policies and have extended our apologies to the family for this incident.  We will be reminding all Hiawathaland Transit employees of the measures they need to take to prevent future incidents.  We sincerely regret the incident."

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