A Dansville 6-year-old was left on a bus by himself for less than 10 minutes by a forgetful driver. The incident scared the little boy and made local news headlines.
A quick search of “child left on bus alone” yields dozens and dozens of news stories from all over the world. The most troubling and egregious incidents involve children with special needs. This happens so often, a company came up with an alarm system to prevent kids from being abandoned.
Leaving kids alone on buses is terrible! Drivers who do such a thing should be disciplined and maybe even fired. Every case is different. It’s entirely appropriate for news organizations tasked with holding government accountable to question officials about policies and procedures.
While this can be upsetting and scary for children and parents, virtually none of these incidents resulted in any physical harm. A child getting asphyxiated because of hot temperatures on a yellow school bus is extremely rare.
But in one South Carolina news report, a parent vowed to drive his children to school every day, even though thousands of children a year die in car accidents and almost none die on school buses. At what point are we losing perspective?
I suspect the sheer volume of “kids-abandoned-on-buses” stories has a little bit to do with something that has had a profound impact on our society: the fear of something bad happening to children left alone for any length of time, no matter how small the risk.
Update: A company compiled a list of incidents – ones that make the news. This really does happen a lot.