5 year-old Lanier County girl left on school bus for six hours - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

5 year-old Lanier County girl left on school bus for six hours

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Ashley Norton Ashley Norton
A child's swing in the yard of one of Norton's relative's house. The interview for this story took place at this house. A child's swing in the yard of one of Norton's relative's house. The interview for this story took place at this house.
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LANIER COUNTY, GA -

A Lanier County Mother is upset tonight after her 5 year old daughter was left on the bus alone for hours.

"I feel like they're trying to blow it off because they told me that the bus driver would be able to drive again in a few weeks. Which is insane to me; if I neglected my child for six hours I would go to jail," said Ashley Norton, the child's mother.

Norton put her daughter on the bus Wednesday morning, just like she always does.

She assumed her daughter was safe at school, that is until she got a phone call that afternoon.

"Yesterday, I put her on the bus at 6-50 goin' to school like normal. And I got a call at two o' clock saying that they found her in the middle school parking lot and she was crying. She had been left on the bus for six hours," Norton explained.

She contacted the bus driver but says all he told her was 'sorry'. She says that didn't make things any better.

"I was devastated. Very upset, very disappointed thinking that my daughter was at school safe and she was stuck on a bus crying and asking for her mother. It was heartbreaking. They put her on the phone and she told me that she was scared that she was by herself and she didn't know where anybody was. I cried. I can't even explain how I felt," said Norton.

The Lanier County Superintendent sent out a press release regarding the incident, which reads, in part,

"School authorities acted promptly in having the school nurse evaluate the student, contact parents, and other authorities...The driver is currently on administrative leave pending the outcome of the school system's investigation into the incident."

Norton says she hopes the school will take action against the bus driver and that both the school and the driver will learn from this, so that no other parents have to have this same experience.

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