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Paramount first-grader falls asleep on bus, misses stop

January 17, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - A Paramount Elementary School first-grader fell asleep on the bus ride home from school Wednesday afternoon and was not dropped off at his bus stop.

Washington County Public Schools spokesman Will Kauffman says the bus driver became aware that the student was still on the bus when the driver was on his way to Smithsburg High to pick up children for another route.

"The driver became aware that he had a student who had been sleeping on the bus, and immediately took him to where he belonged," Kauffman said.

Six-year-old Sebastian Lewis' grandmother, Chris Pike, says she was waiting for her grandson about 3:15 p.m., but the bus never came to the stop - about one mile from Paramount Elementary.

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After 10 minutes of waiting, she called the boy's father.

"He was returned about a half hour later," Pike said.

She says Sebastian was visibly upset and had started to cry.

"He was very upset, as you can imagine," Pike said.

She says her grandson said he wouldn't be falling asleep on the bus again.

Kauffman said that if the driver had not noticed the student before arriving in Smithsburg, the driver would have noticed once arriving at the school. A driver's normal procedure is to do a "walk through" of the school bus at the start of the next route.

Pike said there should be procedures in place to let drivers know which students have boarded the bus, and to ensure that those students have been dropped off by the end of the route.

Pike, who typically does not pick up her grandson from the bus stop, said she initially thought he might have been kidnapped. She said she doesn't want other parents and grandparents to experience that same fear.

"I thought there was a way they had to account for the kids that get on their bus, but evidently there isn't," she said.

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