Shelton police look into report that bus left 5-year-old downtown

Photo of Brian Gioiele
Shelton school buses parked in Shelton, Conn. June 7, 2018.

Shelton school buses parked in Shelton, Conn. June 7, 2018.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — A local mother is demanding better training procedures for bus drivers after her 5-year-old son was allegedly dropped off after school Thursday alone on Howe Avenue.

Lizzy Cameron said she has also filed a police report on the incident, which she detailed in full in a Facebook post Thursday, the second day of school. The incident is also being investigated by the state Department of Children and Families, Cameron said Monday.

This incident is just one of various complaints reported against the city-run Shelton Student Transportation Services (SSTS) by parents about bus overcrowding, missed stops and late runs.

“My 5-year-old kindergartner was supposed to take the bus and go to the Boys and Girls Club after school,” wrote Cameron, adding that the drop-off had gone fine on Wednesday, the first day of school. “But today when I got to the Boys and Girls Club, they didn’t have him and they called the school and he wasn’t there.”

Cameron’s son attends Elizabeth Shelton School and rides on Bus 5.

“Just by a struck [sic] of luck … my mother-in-law calls me because she got a call from our neighbors,” Cameron wrote. “(My son) was left on the corner by himself, and my neighbor who just happened to recognize him, saw him and brought him to my apartment and got ahold of my mother-in-law.”

Cameron said her son was left alone on Howe Avenue, a roadway with vehicles often traveling more than the posted speed limit, and not even in front of the correct stop or home.

Cameron told Hearst Connecticut Media the boy is physically fine but a “little sour at the school this morning.”

SSTS Director Ken Nappi said he was unable to comment as the matter remains under investigation. School Superintendent Ken Saranich said the incident is now a personnel matter and he also was unable to comment.

Cameron added that she will not stop seeking answers to how this happened and she demanded the city-run bus company change its training procedures to prevent this kind of incident from occurring again.

This incident comes as many parents have taken to social media to vent their anger over bus issues, including overcrowded buses, missed stops and long run times. All of these, Saranich said, can be common in the first few days of school.

One parent, Philip Gee, said his seventh-grade son did not have a listed stop.

“I had to go to the offices last Friday, in person, to show them this because I couldn’t get anyone on the phone,” Gee said. “The person who helped me was great and fixed the problem, though it did take some time. On Tuesday, I checked the bus schedule and it said exactly what the woman from the office told me.”

Then on Wednesday, he said, the bus driver drove right by and did not pick up his son.

“I drove him to school and called telling the bus company what happened,” Gee said. “Today (Thursday) the driver stopped but later I found out she told my son that he wasn’t on the list and he had to tell his parents that they needed to fix it.”

Gee questioned how bus drivers could not have the updated lists that are posted on the website.

“Just to make sure I printed out that bus’s route and it was last updated - all the routes - on Sept. 7, the Tuesday before school started,” Gee said.