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CALL 6: Kids left on buses only tracked by Ind.

Posted at 8:41 PM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 20:41:14-05

INDIANAPOLIS – A national safety group is using Indiana data on children left on school buses in an effort to prompt other states to track the problem as well.

Call 6 Investigates found 135 incidents of children left on Indiana school buses since a law went into effect July 1, 2009, that requires school districts and bus companies to report within five working days., a national nonprofit dedicated to keeping children safe in and around vehicles, said Indiana is the only state they’re aware of that tracks children left on school buses and makes the information publicly available.

“Your reports really brought to light how frequently these types of incidents are happening,” said Amber Rollins, director of “I’m not aware of any other state collecting data and putting it out there for the public to see.  Having the data is incredibly helpful to show just how big of a problem it is.”

The Indiana Department of Education reached out to state directors of transportation and found one state has a requirement to report students left on the bus, but does not have a requirement to track bus driver violations.

IDOE also found another state that tracks bus driver violations, but has no requirement for reporting the information. has found bus drivers rarely face criminal charges for leaving children alone on school buses, while it’s common for parents to be charged for leaving kids in vehicles.

“We do feel there needs to be some kind of consequence for leaving children in a dangerous situation whether that be criminal charges or some kind of disciplinary action,” said Rollins. “There has to be some kind of deterrent to prevent this from happening and for people to take it seriously.”

Call 6 Investigates found roughly 55 percent of bus drivers who left a child alone lost their jobs or resigned, and 45 percent were disciplined in some way and kept their jobs.

Here is the data the organization has about numbers of kids left on buses and what happened as a result: said it’s a common misconception that heat is the only danger for children left on buses.

“There are cases where children have taken the bus for a spin,” said Rollins. “Children can get out of the bus and face a whole new set of dangers.”

On a freezing January day in 2010, an 8-year-old girl in Tippecanoe County fell asleep on the bus, then woke up and wandered across the street to a nearby store. Police took her home.

In Center Grove, a police officer found a disoriented student wandering the street after she awoke on a parked bus.

Indiana School districts have reported 21 incidents of children left behind on school buses so far in 2015, an increase from 18 total incidents in 2014.

Statewide number of incidents of child/children left on a school bus:

  • 2015 - 21
  • 2014 - 18
  • 2013 - 27
  • 2012 - 20
  • 2011 - 22
  • 2010 - 18
  • 2009 - 9

The incidents often involve children falling asleep and drivers failing to perform a post-trip inspection of the bus.

Rollins said technology is available that requires bus drivers walk to the back of the bus and push a button, however it can be costly for cash-strapped school districts.

“Parents need to stand up and fight for this,” said Rollins. encourages parents to ask their child’s school or day care what their policies and procedures are.

“Parents need to know this is something they should be asking about,” said Rollins. “What are you going to do to make sure my child is never left alone on a vehicle?”

The law doesn’t require school districts to disclose how long a child is left, but incidents statewide examined by Call 6 Investigates showed times that ranged from a few minutes to several hours.


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