A father has told of his horror after his severely autistic six-year-old son was abandoned alone on the school bus – ALL DAY.
Little Brandon Presley has profound learning disabilities and travelled to school on the privately-operated council-funded minibus with his classmates in the morning.
But the youngster – who was strapped into a child seat – wasn’t escorted off the bus when it arrived at his specialist school and the bus went back to depot in Torbay, Devon.
It wasn’t until the driver returned at 2.30pm to begin the afternoon school run he discovered the shaken boy was still on-board.
His parents Anthony and Sophie claim that despite a council investigation, the driver is back at work and the company even asked if he could still take the lad to school.
Lorry driver Anthony, 36, from Paignton, Devon, said: “I went bonkers when we found out.
“He’s still in nappies so he had been sat there all day, strapped in, with no food, no water, in a big warehouse where they keep their buses.
“We took him to the doctors for dehydration. They checked him over and said he was ok, but just to keep an eye on him.
“Brandon is a danger to himself. If he had got off that bus God knows what could have happened.
“He’s not really in the same world as us. What is wrong to us, isn’t wrong to him.
“It was the day before the hottest day of the year so far.
“I think initially to him it was a day out on the bus, but to us of course it was something very different.
“He wouldn’t go in a car seat for about week after it happened.
“He is fine now as he really loves going on the bus, so I think that helped.
“After it happened he was really, really quiet. He was stressed about it.”
Brandon doesn’t have the same vocabulary skills as many children of his age, and often can’t properly understand what is going on, or perceive danger.
He was picked up by a bus run by company Torbay Minibuses to travel to seven-mile journey to Mayfield School in Torquay, on April 27.
But instead of being taken to school, the lad wasn’t taken off the school bus, and the vehicle was secured in a lock up for around five hours.
His parents, who also have children Millie, four, and AJ, three, claim they were not contacted by the school to find out if Brandon was poorly.
It was only when he was dropped of back home his parents were told he had been trapped in his seat all day, and had been rediscovered at around 2.30pm.
“My wife broke down crying,” said Anthony.
“I was upset but I was more angry. He shouldn’t have been put in that situation.
“It should never have happened.
Torbay Council launched an investigation into what it described at the time as a “very serious” and “traumatic” incident.
But according to Anthony, the school’s supervisor was dismissed, but the driver kept his job, and the council is still using the firm.
He added: “They have introduced new measures where they kids have to signed off when they get picked up and dropped off, but it’s too little too late.
“The measures should have been in place anyway. How can you leave a little boy on a bus all day?
“Now the investigation has been closed and the assistant has lost her job, but the driver still works for them.
“Three weeks ago I had a phone call from Torbay Council childrens’ transport division.
“They said the driver is back working with them and asked ‘is he ok to come and pick up your son now?’ I said absolutely not.”
A Torbay Council spokesperson said: “As soon as we became aware of this very serious incident we started a full investigation with all concerned so we can fully understand how this happened.
“We supported the family at what must be a traumatic time for them and their son and have been keeping them informed throughout this investigation.
“We will ensure that we act on all the recommendations that come out of this investigation.
“As the investigation is still on-going it would be inappropriate to make any further comment until it has been fully concluded.”
Torbay Minibuses has not responded to a request for comment.