9-year-old left sleeping, locked on school bus for hours in Detroit

A Detroit mother is furious after her 9-year-old son was left sleeping on a school bus for hours on Wednesday.

The mom, Tashonda Bennett, said her older son found the 9-year-old on the bus around 9:30 p.m. – when he'd usually be home by 3:45 p.m.

"I just don’t know what to do. I feel like my son shouldn’t have had to go through that," Bennett said. "My baby is 9 years old. He’s traumatized, he doesn't want to go to school, he's afraid to even get back on the bus… I feel like school failed us. It was my child who found my baby."

Bennet explained that her son, who attends Detroit Service Learning Academy, got on the school bus Wednesday morning with his 14-year-old sister.

The boy made it to school, and then got back on the bus to come home after school, the mom said. She fell asleep and did not realize her son was missing until 7 p.m.

Bennett started frantically calling anyone and everyone – including the bus driver.

"The bus driver didn’t even come here," she said. "He told me that my son did not get on the bus, which means he never knew that my son was even back there asleep. Thats what makes me think that he didn’t do his walk through."

If the bus driver had done his walk through, he would have seen the child asleep in the back of the bus, Bennet added. The boy's older sister saw him back on the bus to head home; the sister stayed at school for practice.

"She kept stressing to me – ‘mom I put him on the bus,’" Bennett said.

So the mother called the school, police, and her family to try and find her baby.

"The police didn’t find my child, the school didn’t know where my son was, my son’s brother and grandmother found my son sleeping on the bus at 9:30 (p.m.)," Bennett said.

The boy's 16-year-old brother lifted him out of the bus from a hatch on top of the vehicle. 

"He was asleep. I was banging on the window. He woke up, he was wiping his eyes, looking around, and he just started crying," the brother said. "I knew there was a hatch (on top of the bus), so I opened the hatch."

Detroit police confirmed the sequence of events.

"It takes the police, and it takes the community acting together in this situation, my officers collaborated with the grandmother. The grandmother went to one location, while the officers were handling business here," according to Detroit police.

FOX 2 asked the Service Learning District Superintendent DeAngelo Alexander if the bus driver involved is on leave or if they are still working – but we did not receive an answer.

However, Alezander sent a statement saying that this has never happened before.

"We are addressing this matter with the staff involved. Additionally, we will be conducting a thorough review of our policies and procedures to ensure that our practices are aligned with the highest standards in the transportation industry," according to the statement.


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"I just don’t know what to do, but I can’t let this slide. I can’t," Bennett said.