Worth Co. student left on school bus - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Worth Co. student left on school bus

September 6, 2006

Worth County -- A five-year-old girl was left on a Worth County school bus for hours Wednesday. Her parents say that cloudy, cooler weather may have saved her life.

They say Destiny Ray got on the bus around 7:00AM, but didn't make it to school until 11:45.

Richard and Kay Ray say Destiny fell asleep on the way to school. She spent close to four hours alone on that bus until someone found her. Ray's parents say this situation put their daughter in danger, and could have had deadly consequences.

She's smiling now as she plays in her grandmother's front yard. But Destiny Ray's parents say she was crying, when she was found alone on her school bus. "These are small children they're not but four or five years old, they don't know how to take care of themselves. This world is so dangerous, anybody could take them," said concerned parent Kay Ray.

Kay Ray says it's just not right that the bus driver did not take the time to check the bus to see if any students were still on board. Kay and Richard Ray say that needs to change.

Five-year-old Destiny was left alone on her school bus parked at the Worth County Bus Shop. She was on the bus for nearly four hours before someone found her and took her to school.

School superintendent Gary Russell says he will speak with the bus driver before taking any disciplinary action or changing current procedures.

Father Richard Ray says the school system needs to be accountable for students' safety. "Even common sense ought to tell you to go back and check and make sure because little young 'uns, you can't see them when you're looking back. They may be up under the seat because everything's so low," said concerned parent Richard Ray.

Kay Ray is thankful her daughter is safe and wants others to be as well. "I don't want another child to be in the same position that she was in and something happen to that child because of his action or because of any Worth County bus driver actions," said Kay Ray.

The Rays hope a change comes out of their daughter's story because children's safety to and from school is nothing to play around with.

Worth County does not have a specific policy on bus drivers checking for students at the end of a route, but Superintendent Gary Russell says they tell drivers to double check the seats.

Russell says he'll speak with the driver to find out what happened and to see what needs to change.

Sixty-eight buses drive students to school in Worth County every day. Some newer buses have a buzzer system. Drivers must walk to the back to turn it off when they finish their route.

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