A second-grader with special needs was left on his school bus Monday morning in D.C., on a day when the heat rose to almost 90 degrees.
The child was found only when he managed to pry open the bus doors and walk away from the bus. He was discovered by a passer-by, who brought 7-year-old Antonio to his school.
His mother is relieved that Antonio is OK, but says it is unacceptable that he was left behind.
"Somebody else could have picked him up," said Arnise Grinage. "He could have been kidnapped, or passed away. A lot of kids die in cars from heat."
Grinage said her son apparently fell asleep on his bus ride to school. In D.C., the Office of the State Superintendent of Education provides bus service to special-needs students.
Antonio attends a charter school in Northeast D.C.
Grinage had watched him get on the bus just before 7:30 a.m. Monday. She only learned what happened when she got a call from his school three hours later, saying her son had just arrived.
"He was left on the bus," she said. "He woke up, they brought him to school. They didn't tell me any details."
The boy had been on the bus at a lot a few blocks away from school.
Grinage said Antonio has always looked forward to school despite his challenges. "He has developmental delay and ADHD," she said.
OSSE said the department's policy is that bus drivers walk up and down the aisles of their buses to check for riders before leaving the bus. The department is investigating whether that happened this time.
OSSE issued a statement, which read: "The OSSE department of transportation is currently investigating an incident that occurred this morning. We take student safety very seriously and immediately investigate all incidents."