Two Bus Drivers Resigned Following Investigation
An I-Team investigation uncovered disturbing details that caused two Pinellas County bus drivers to resign from their jobs.
The incident happened in Largo. A child was left unattended on a bus while the drivers went inside of the Publix on East Bay Drive and Belcher Road. The child ended up exiting the bus and roaming the parking lot that is bordered by two busy roads.
A shopper at the Publix found the child and waited until the drivers returned. The child was unharmed.
According to the Pinellas County School report, senior bus driver Susan Welch was training new driver Christopher Valentine. Valentine dropped a group of students off at Fuguitt Elementary School and supposedly did a search of the bus. However, he missed a student who was sleeping in one of the rows.
Valentine and Welch drove five miles to the Publix parking lot, parked and went inside. About 10 minutes later they learned one of their students had been roaming around the parking lot looking for them. The shopper who found the child told the drivers when they returned that the child was looking for them after waking up on the bus alone.
“There’s really no excuse for a bus driver forgetting a kid on a bus,” one frustrated parent told abc action news.
The two drivers handed over their keys to the bus and resigned. The school’s principal notified the child’s parents but didn’t notify any other parents of the incident.
The Pinellas School District released this statement to abc action news:
“Pinellas County Schools takes the safety of students seriously. The district holds our transportation specialists to high standards and we expect policies to be followed. Unfortunately in this instance they were not.”
There is no word on whether further consequences would be taken towards the drivers.