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Autistic schoolboy left alone on a school bus for TWO hours after he fell asleep

May 2, 2013 by

Bus assistant failed to notice the boy had fallen asleep during the journey

A five-year-old autistic boy was left behind on a school bus for two hours after falling asleep during the journey.

Muhamheed Umayeer Chowdhury, who attends a special needs primary school at Woolgrove School in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, was abandoned after the bus assistant failed to ensure he was escorted safely to the school with the other children.

His parents were furious when they found out what had happened, as their son could have been in danger had he not been discovered in time.

Five-year-old Muhamheed Umayeer Chowdhury, who has learning disabilities, was left behind on the school bus

The bizarre incident happened after the minibus picked him up at home as usual and took him to Woolgrove School in Letchworth, Herts, arriving at 8.30am.

But Umayeer, as he is known, had fallen asleep en route and the assistant on the bus failed to check that he had got off at the special needs primary school.

The driver drove off unaware that the youngster, who has learning difficulties and finds it hard to communicate, was still on board.

And it was not until 10.30am, when the driver sounded the horn of the bus, that Umayeer suddenly woke up and was finally discovered.

Woolgrove school in Hertfordshire

Five-year-old Umayeer Chowdhury attends a special needs primary school at Woolgrove School in Hertfordshire

His mother, Shammi Chowdhury, 34, and her husband Nahid Ahmed, 35, did not know about the drama until 11am, when the school called to tell them.

Mrs Chowdhury, of Stevenage, said: ‘We were extremely upset that this had happened to a child with a disability who finds it hard to communicate.

‘We appreciate that Umayeer has had time off school due to illness many times, but I want to make sure that this does not happen to any child again, whether disabled or not.’

Umayeer’s uncle, Rohim Ali, 33, who has been liaising with the school on behalf of his parents, said: ‘The school apologised but we felt they did not appreciate the seriousness of the situation and blamed the council transport service.

‘My belief is that if there had been the right procedures in place it would not have happened.’

Mr Ali added: ‘It could have been more serious – it’s not what happened but what could have happened.’

The assistant employed by the taxi firm has since been dismissed and the driver reprimanded.

Woolgrove School headteacher Susan Selley said: ‘Transport is provided by the local authority. They organise contracts with different taxi firms.

‘The escorts, who are employed by the taxi firms, are responsible for ensuring all children are delivered to the school by handing them over to school staff.

‘Unfortunately this child was left on the bus unbeknown to the members of staff attending to arrivals. The bus door was closed and it was assumed all children had been released.’

She added: ‘The child in question has been ill previously with a severe ear infection and a message has always been relayed to the teacher about his absence during the morning. So it was not entirely unusual for him not to be on the bus.

‘It is school policy to contact parents mid-morning if a child does not attend and there is no telephone message from home to explain their absence.

‘To prevent this from ever happening again, the new escort is being provided with a tick sheet to record who has been collected each day.’

A Hertfordshire County Council spokesman said: ‘The safety and well being of all children using home-to-school transport is a top priority. We therefore took this incident extremely seriously as the situation clearly was not acceptable.

‘We are working with the school to ensure there is a robust procedure in place which would avoid any similar incident happening in the future.’

via Woolgrove School: Autistic schoolboy left alone on a school bus for TWO hours after he fell asleep | Mail Online.

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