I was disturbed this past week by a news report of a special needs student who was left on his special needs bus. The bus aide allegedly knew, according to news reports, that the student had fallen asleep on the bus but allegedly didn’t notify the bus driver. It was reported that the aide was late for church or some appointment and didn’t take measures to ensure that the student was delivered to his destination. That student was left on a freezing cold bus for over 19 hours without relatives knowing where he was. If those accusations are proven to be true…it is unacceptable…both morally and legally.
The student ended up being hospitalized because of the temperatures that he was exposed to while on that bus overnight on New Year’s Eve. The family of this student was both horrified and outraged. The student is on the mend…but, there may be residual fear that that student has to struggle with.
In those kinds of situations…the disabled are at the mercy of the person who is responsible for their care in those moments. The thing is…as a parent…you really have to rely on the personal responsibility and the integrity of the caregiver’s value system. Will they care for your loved one in a safe and caring way, as you yourself would? How do you ensure that your loved one is properly taken care of in your absence?
When you leave your special person in the care of others you have to be convinced of that individual’s competancy. When that caregiver fails to protect or neglects to provide safe and appropriate care…who is responsible? Is it the individual…the agency, school, or system that they work for? It is accountability that helps to prevent devastating situations from taking place.
I think a big part of the equasion is that you develop a close and personal relationship with the care provider. You try to make sure that there are checks and balances set up to hold people accountable. The bus situation could be avoided if there is a system that does a final check of each bus seat before the aids/drivers leave the bus at the end of a shift. Alot of school systems have a check list…the bus drivers and aides must complete a walk thru of the bus before finally putting a sign on the bus window or door that verifys that the bus is free of any riders when the aides/drivers leave that bus.
This was a horrible story; but, it is also an experience to learn from. Any real life situations that you could share that would help another family?