NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia (WAVY) – A grandmother in Virginia is looking for answers after her 7-year-old grandson woke up alone at a bus barn.
Sheri Robinson tells NewsNation affiliate WAVY that her grandson, Marcus, is a first-grader at Newsome Park Elementary School in Newport News.
“Around 12, 1 o’clock, two strangers brought my grandson home and I’m like ‘Why aren’t you in school?'” Robinson asked.
Yesterday morning, she saw him get on the school bus with her own eyes — so she was confused when he showed up at her doorstep just hours later with the strangers.
The young boy tearfully explained to his grandmother how he fell asleep on the bus and woke up alone. Marcus said he had to push the door to the school bus open to get out, and tried to walk to school.
Newport News Public Schools confirmed the incident with WAVY News and Marcus’ grandmother. They allegedly told Robinson there’s a video of the school bus driver exiting the bus without checking to see if anyone else was still on, and that it’s the procedure to do so.
“They saw the video and said they saw that the driver never checked the seats … that she pulled in the parking lot. She parked the bus and she just got out of the bus. Then, after a while, they saw Marcus get off the bus and [they] say they saw him push the door open and walk off,” she said.
The two good Samaritans found Marcus wandering a quarter-mile from where the buses were parked, and brought him home.
“What if someone else had picked him up? People are out here kidnapping kids and doing God knows what to them. What if somebody else had picked him up? Anything could have happened,” Robinson said. “He could get hit crossing the streets and everything. What if a train was coming when he was going towards the railroad track? Anything could have happened out there.”
Newport News Public Schools has initiated an investigation into the incident.
“The safety of our students is of the highest priority in Newport News Public Schools,” the NNPS said in a statement shared with WAVY. “This incident is being thoroughly investigated by the school division. Our Transportation Director and the student’s principal remain in contact with the student’s family. The bus driver involved in this incident has been removed from her duties and Child Protective Services has been notified.”
Robinson said she still doesn’t feel confident sending 7-year-old Marcus to school.
“Do I have to call every day after he’s supposed to be at school to check to see that he makes it to school?” she asked. “Something needs to happen. When we send our children to school, we feel that they are supposed to be safe with the one they’re with. If they can’t be safe with the bus driver, what do we do?”