MCCLELLAN PARK, CA (KOVR/CNN) – A California woman is outraged after she says school bus drivers twice failed to drop off her grandson, who has autism.
Not once but twice, Marie Umbay frantically worried, wondering where her 11-year-old grandson James was when he hadn’t returned home from school on time.
"I want him to be safe. If something happened to him, you know, I just couldn't imagine,” Umbay said.
For the second time in as many school years, James, a fifth-grade student of the Twin Rivers Unified School District in North Sacramento, CA, was forgotten on his school bus Wednesday.
James has autism, and while he can talk, he can’t carry a conversation.
"They knew he got on the bus. He didn't just disappear,” Umbay said.
It turned out James had fallen asleep on the bus, and it wasn’t until the driver ended his route that he noticed the boy was still there.
Another driver was called in and brought James home an hour later.
"Sure, it's an accident, but we can't afford accidents like that – with our children especially,” Umbay said.
It was deja vu for Umbay, who says last year a different driver did the exact same thing. She says she didn’t put James back on the bus until this year, hoping after complaining to the district, things had changed.
"We didn't think it would happen again,” Umbay said. "They didn't learn anything last year from it, obviously."
The school district addressed the most current incident in a statement Thursday.
"At no point was the student left alone on the bus. As a result of this incident, we are taking a closer look at transportation protocols and procedures,” the statement read in part.
Umbay really hopes the district will take the incident seriously. She says James will not be riding the school bus anymore.
"It's unacceptable. I'm not letting anything happen to my grandson,” Umbay said.
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