FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) –Four-year-old Terrance Williams fell asleep on his way to Souder Elementary in Everman last Friday. His bus driver never noticed.
Sumika Runnels said her son woke up on the Everman ISD bus lot. He wandered around hysterical, until another bus driver found him.
“Not only could something tragic have happened on the bus, but he could’ve been hit by a bus or he could’ve wondered off into a stranger’s hand. That, right there, scares me to death,’ Runnels said.
Runnels said she hired a lawyer after no one would give her “direct answers” as to what happened to her son.
“No one would tell me how long my son was on the bus for,” she said. “Nobody could tell me how long he wandered around in that bus parking lot.”
Superintendent Dr. Jeri Pfeifer said every school bus in this district is not equipped with cameras because of financial constraints. The particular bus Runnels’ son fell asleep on did not have a camera.
As such, school officials said they didn’t know how long the boy was unsupervised.
“I don’t blame her, I want to know that too,” wrote Pfeifer in a statement. “We are tracking down minute-by-minute what time the bus arrived on campus and what time it got to the bus barn. These parents trust the district to take perfect care of their children. We have to do that.”
Pfeifer said all drivers are required to conduct inspections before and after each trip, which includes walking to the back of the bus after every run to ensure all children are off the bus. The bus driver was fired Friday for neglecting her duties.
“What are they gonna do to fix this, to stop this,” Runnels asked. “I’m lucky my son came home to me, but what about the next parent? Are they gonna be lucky?”
Pfeifer said because of the district’s tight budget, adding cameras to more buses is likely out of the question. She said that bus drivers will go through more safety training after the investigation.
They will also receive daily reminders to complete their safety checks, Pfeifer said.