Two Pinellas bus drivers resign amid investigation of child being left alone on bus

Posted at 6:23 PM, Nov 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-11 18:23:24-05

The I-Team uncovered a major mistake that cost 2 Pinellas County School bus drivers their jobs.

It happened in Largo. A child left alone on a school bus, ends up roaming around a parking lot, while 2 bus drivers are inside Publix at the corner of the very busy East Bay Drive and Belcher Road. Several Parents at Fuguitt Elementary School are shocked.

"When you’re telling me this, it’s like wow!”, one parent says.

"My Stomach just drops!” says another.

Luckily a shopper found the child and waited until the bus drivers returned. The child was never harmed.

"Well obviously we gotta do a better job protecting our kids”, says one dad.

According to a Pinellas County School report, senior bus driver Susan Welch was supposed to be training Christopher Valentine. Valentine was dropping students off at Fuguitt Elementary School and supposedly did a search. Just one problem, he missed a student sleeping in one of the rows.

So they drove 5 miles to a Publix parking lot and went inside. Only to learn about 10 minutes later, one of their students had been roaming around looking for them. The shopper told the drivers the child was looking for them after waking up alone on the bus.

"There’s really no excuse for a bus driver forgetting a kid on a bus,” says another frustrated parent.

Both bus drivers handed over their keys to transport children and resigned. The school's principal notified the parents of the child but didn’t notify other parents at the school.

Pinellas School District officials would not talk on camera but released this statement:

"Pinellas County Schools takes the safety of students seriously.  The district holds our transportation specialists to high standards and we expect policies to be followed. Unfortunately in this instance they were not."