MARYLAND

P.G. County bus drops off child with autism without supervision

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DISTRICT HEIGHTS, Md. (WJLA) - Prince George’s County Public Schools are investigating a school bus snafu. A mother contacted our newsroom after she says her son, who has autism, was not dropped off at his usual spot Wednesday.

“He was running in the middle of the street," said Nicole Mccain-Hines of District Heights. "I'm like, 'Devontae, where's the bus?'"

Mccain-Hines says her eight-year-old appeared at her front door alone.

“He tells me the bus driver dropped him off at the end of the block," she said.

Turns out, water utility crews had both entrances to their block blocked off.

“They should have called the bus depot and said the street is closed," said Mccain-Hines.

What troubles her most is that her neighborhood has no sidewalks. She says it's a dangerous path for any child to travel, and especially one with special needs.

“[Devontae] has autism and he must be supervised 24 hours a day," she explained.

The Arrowhead Elementary School 3rd-grader rides a school bus for kids with disabilities. He’s picked up and dropped off at home daily.

"The school system is responsible for transporting children door to door,” said Mccain-Hines. “Someone should have made contact with me or my husband."

Max Pugh, the acting communications officer for Prince George's County Public Schools, emailed us the following statements:

We appreciate you bringing this incident to our attention as we consider student safety a top priority in our school system. This incident is under investigation by our Transportation department.

For the most part, students with special needs will be transported curb to curb using the address of the residence. There are times that safety issues may cause other arrangements to be made. Drivers/bus attendants are not to walk students to/from their door. When a bus cannot maneuver down a street, alternate arrangements are made with the parent/caretaker. In the case of unexpected safety issues that prevent the bus from getting to the pick-up/drop-off location, drivers are required to call in by radio to get instructions.

It’s unclear if the driver in this case called for instructions on what to do. An investigation is underway.

“Now I'm just trying to get some kind of resolution on how we can fix this," said Mccain-Hines.

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