BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Bentonville parents of a kindergartner who was left on a school bus for hours addressed the school board Tuesday.
Michael and Michella Carpenter detailed to board members that their son, Charlie, was left on the bus and found by a maintenance worker. The Carpenters’ said Charlie was hot and drenched in his own urine.
“Four times he cried, four times, he said that many times and no one heard his cries,” Michella Carpenter said.
The Carpenters brought their concerns to the school board to make sure this doesn’t happen to any other kids in the district.
“There still was negligence by at least one person, I still believe there was negligence on multiple levels,” Michella said.
Michella said Charlie is doing better Tuesday and went to school, but Michael Carpenter said he will not be riding the bus anymore.
“He has a fear now, and how’s that going to affect him when he goes on a field trip,” Michael said.
Another parent reached out to KNWA/FOX 24 and said their child was left on a school bus last year after they fell asleep and didn’t get off at their school. The parent who wished to remain anonymous said their child was older and had a cell phone. The child was able to contact their parent for help and was unharmed.
Every school board member apologized to the Carpenters at the meeting, including Board President Eric White.
“We know that this could have been much worse and we took it very seriously,” White said.
White said the district will be investigating the matter. He said the bus drivers are supposed to check the buses after dropping off kids, but it didn’t happen in Charlie’s case on Monday.
“Training is important, we have a human-based double-checking system and we failed at that in this situation,” White said. “We’re layering technology with our new busing system.”
Bentonville Public Schools implemented a new system called ‘Transportant’ this year to track when kids get on and off the bus. However, the feature that notifies parents when their student has scanned on and off the bus has not been implemented yet. White said the feature should be up and running by mid-October and this recent incident shows just how important getting the system fully operational is for the district.
The Carpenters said they will keep following up on this incident to ensure safety continues to be top of mind in Bentonville.