St. Paul boy left on school bus pried door open to escape

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The mother of a St. Paul sixth-grader says she is still waiting for an apology from a school bus driver who left her napping 11-year-old behind on the bus when he parked it for the night.

The Humboldt Secondary School boy woke up, discovered he'd been left alone in a Centerline Charter Corp. bus lot miles from home, and he managed to pry his way out of the door, the Pioneer Press reports. The child then made his way through an unfamiliar neighborhood to an auto parts store to call his mother.

It's a mandatory Centerline practice that bus drivers conduct a walkthrough down the bus aisle to check for children before they lock up the vehicle. The driver involved in the March 21 incident will no longer drive St. Paul Public Schools routes, a district spokeswoman told the Pioneer Press. A Centerline representative did not respond to media calls seeking comment.

School officials estimate he was alone on the bus for about 10-15 minutes in the Centerline lot.

A police report on the incident surfaced this week after the boy's mother made a report to the Minnesota Department of Education, which forwarded the information to St. Paul police.

The boy's mother said she has not received an apology from the driver, and told FOX 9 that a representative from the company was rude and nonchalant.

It's not the first time a child has been left behind on a school bus. In April last year, a 3-year-old boy was left alone on a school bus for hours in Farmington. Earlier this year, two Fargo children, including a kindergartner, were left behind on a bus, although they were spotted in the window by another employee not long after the driver parked the vehicle.

A bill pending in the Legislature would legally require drivers to inspect their buses after their routes, even though that is already a common bus company rule. Also under the bill, if a child is found left on the bus, prosecutors would have the option to press charges if certain school and transportation leaders aren’t informed.

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