This heartbreaking video of an 11-year-old student with autism was left trapped on an empty school bus occurred three years ago. At the time, Coachella Valley Unified claimed that the cameras on the bus were broken.
A local newspaper, The Desert Sun, obtained the footage from a busing official who was concerned that the school district would erase the original copy if he turned it over.
“I know it’s my word against theirs, but here is the tape. I’m obviously not making this up,” said Angel Valentin, the former assistant director of transportation.
The video shows the boy riding in the back of the bus on the morning of September 8, 2014. The bus had two employees on it, the driver and a bus monitor, who were supposed to check the bus before leaving it. They both failed to do so.
The boy can be seen laying down and falling asleep during the bus route. The bus employees fail to drop him off at his school and then proceed to drop the bus off at the transportation yard.
Neither employee searches the bus at the end of the route, violating the district’s standard safety procedures.
The boy woke up ten minutes later and was immediately aware that he was alone. He began to call out for someone to help him.
“Nobody! Nobody!” he says, over and over.
The boy remained trapped for 30 minutes before another bus driver who parked in the adjacent bus opens the bus door to discover the crying child at the top of the bus stairs.
“While there is a surveillance system installed in Bus 111, it is currently not functioning correctly therefore there is no footage relating to the student being left on the bus available,” said Chona Killeen, a human resources director, in a written statement.
The bus driver and bus monitor who left the boy on the bus still worked for Coachella Valley Unified district as of late last year, Valentin said. The employees were put on leave for about five months after the incident but paid for a majority of that time.