INDIANAPOLIS -- New numbers obtained by Call 6 Investigates reveal 135 incidents of children left on school buses since a law went into effect July 1, 2009, that requires school districts and bus companies to report within five working days.
Some of the incidents involve more than one child.
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 2015 incidents include Central Indiana school districts such as Brownsburg, Decatur Township, Warren Township, IPS, and Hamilton Southeastern.
On Monday, an Anderson Community Schools bus driver was fired after failing to drop off a 5-year-old child.
The driver told administrators she became ill and didn’t realize the child was asleep in the rear of the bus.
In March, an IPS 1st grader was left on a school bus all day, records show.
The incidents often children falling asleep and drivers failing to perform a post-trip inspection of the bus.
Other examples include bus drivers stopping at home or a store and leaving children alone inside the school bus.
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.
Lawmakers thought the bill would boost transparency and, more importantly, cut down on the number of children left behind, but Call 6 Investigates uncovered that’s not the case.
School districts are required to report only a few details, and the state has no punishment in place for schools who fail to disclose when a child is left alone on the bus.
Although some wouldn't say, of those that did, 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.
Though parents can't find out online if a child has been left by their bus driver, they can request that information directly from the state Department of Education.
Residents can also ask a school district whether a child’s bus driver has had any incidents.