Elliott Johnson's parents are shocked their three-year-old son was left on a school bus for four hours Friday morning, KARE 11 reports.
The little boy, who has a speech disorder, was found alone and strapped in the seat behind the driver at the bus terminal after he didn't return home early Friday afternoon.
"I was speechless, I just couldn't believe it," Elizabeth, Elliott's mom, told the station. "For four hours I sat here thinking my son was at school. He's having fun, playing, learning. And here he is sitting on a bus alone in the dark."
Elliott's dad, Jesse, added, "It's so heartbreaking. Someone loses your kid and you have no clue where they are."
A communications coordinator for Farmington Area Schools apologized for the mishap. He told KARE 11, "There's procedures and policies in place to make sure that they don't happen, this kind of thing doesn't happen, and they just weren't followed."
The bus company, Marschall Line, Inc., issued the following statement:
Yesterday morning, Friday April 12, an incident occurred in which a Marschall Line, Inc. School Bus Driver and Bus Aide failed to properly follow company policy and procedures to ensure all their students were safely delivered to school. This serious human error resulted in a student being left in his car-seat on the bus after it returned to the terminal. After calls had been exchanged between the student's mother, bus company staff and school officials, a bus company manager checked the bus inside the terminal parking garage and discovered the student still on board the bus sitting in his car-seat. The manager then brought the student into the bus terminal office where he was reunited with his mother. She had driven there after learning her child had been found on the bus. Due to the serious breach of expectations, protocol and procedures related to student safety, both the Bus Driver and Bus Aide involved in the incident have been terminated. The owners and employees of the bus company which serves the Farmington School District are relieved and thankful that the student was discovered safe. We remain committed to our ongoing Bus Driver and Bus Aide safety training program and will be reviewing these particular procedures in an effort to avoid any future incidents. We offer our sincere apologies to the student and the family involved.