ROY — A family is calling for action and demanding answers after their 4-year-old boy was left alone on a school bus for two hours earlier this month.
Although the Weber School District has protocols in place to make sure something like that doesn’t happen, Miles Hulbert’s parents say those protocols weren’t followed.
On that day, Miles got on the bus, was buckled in and headed off for preschool at Midland Elementary School.
That afternoon, another bus brought him home.
“I thought he was at school the entire time, but apparently he was not,” said Miles’ mother, Janel Hulbert.
After dropping off the other students at school, neither the bus driver nor a special education aide spotted Miles before they got off the bus themselves.
And for two hours he was left alone.
It wasn’t until the driver got back on the bus to make an afternoon run that Miles was found.
But his parents say it wasn’t the school or the district that told them what had happened.
It was Miles.
“When he got off the bus … we’re like, ‘Oh how was school?’ and he said he had not been to school,” Hulbert said.
“He said it was hot. He said he went to the jungle. I assume there were some trees nearby,” said Miles’ father, Daniel Hulbert, adding he and his wife call Miles “our imaginative child.”
“It’s really hard as a parent to know you put your child on a bus with some expectation they’ll be taken care of,” Daniel Hulbert said.
“At least two protocols by the bus driver and the aide were completely ignored and skipped,” Janel Hulbert said.
According to district policy, the bus driver and the aide are supposed to walk the bus, front to back, to make sure it’s empty. And new this year because of COVID-19, every seat is expected to be cleaned after each route, but it’s unclear if that ever happened because the cameras on the bus weren’t working.
After learning of the incident, the district launched an internal investigation. It said after reviewing what had occurred, it was determined there was no malicious intent on the part of the employees involved.
District officials released a statement Monday saying, “While we were investigating this incident, it was discovered the camera on this particular bus was not operational and hadn’t been recording footage for a period of about two years.”
And while the district said it’s working on fixing it, that isn’t enough for the Hulberts, who say the bus driver and aid should be fired. They would also like the district to invest in new technology that would require the bus driver to walk to the back of the bus to turn off an alarm whenever the engine is turned off.
“I don’t want any other parents or any other children to go through that,” Daniel Hulbert said, adding Miles “is still honestly scared of the bus.”