Claremore Parents Upset After Special Needs Student Was Left Alone On Bus

Sunday, January 24th 2021, 2:58 pm


Parents of a Claremore student are still trying to understand how their child was left behind on a school bus.

The district said it deeply regrets what happened and is grateful the student is OK. 

"Three adults missed my kid,” Allie Spencer, the student’s mother, said.  

Spencer and Scott Cole told News On 6 their 7-year-old son, who has special needs, is still traumatized days after being abandoned on a school bus. 

"He was, like, walking back and forth on the bus and somebody had just happened to see him that was walking around the lot,” Spencer said.  

Spencer told us the bus normally arrives at 3:20 p.m., but it arrived 15 minutes late. She said the bus driver told her they'd switched busses because the original bus required maintenance. 

Spencer said it had been taken to the bus barn with her son still on board. 

"He was asleep and had woken up and he was alone on the bus,” Spencer said. “That's when all the emotions came out. I was scared because I knew that he was scared." 

The student’s father said the incident was a major oversight on the school's part for missing a child who was sleeping in the second seat. 

"It's really more of a slap in the face that they're still allowing her to drive a school bus. Like, that's a big responsibility,” Cole said.  

Claremore Public Schools superintendent Bryan Frazier released a statement.

 "The safety and wellbeing of our students is always our top priority,” Frazier said. “The original route bus did have a maintenance light go off, and the bus switched out, and students transferred to another bus. There were mistakes made and procedures not followed at the transfer. We will not attempt to defend or make excuses for what occurred; protocols were not followed. Drivers and paras have very close relationships with the students that ride the buses. The individuals responsible are upset and very remorseful. The District has apologized by phone and met personally with the family. The District has changed drivers and routes as requested, and the student has returned to a normal routine. The District will learn from the mistakes and add additional protocols and training, so this type of incident does not occur again. We deeply regret this has happened. Obviously, we cannot comment on internal personnel issues. We are very grateful the student is okay and back in school."  

Spencer said she was told the district now requires bus driver to look under the seats and plans to install cameras in the busses by next school year. 

“You can put policies in all you want, but if you don't follow those policies, you're going to keep having this problem,” Spencer said.