Updated 03/19/2013 11:19 PM
NY1 Exclusive: Bus Driver, Matron Arrested After Allegedly Leaving Student Sleeping On Manhattan Bus
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A bus driver and a bus matron have been arrested and suspended after they allegedly left an 11-year-old special needs student sleeping on a bus Tuesday morning.
Derek Bueno said he was left on the bus for about two hours.
He said he was sleeping for most of the time but said he was cold and scared when he woke up.
"I was sleeping, and nobody noticed that all the other students got off the bus. And the bus matron, the bus matron didn't notice that I was still sleeping," he said. I felt afraid and very scared and nervous, because, because, I don't really know, because I was just there in the bus by myself."
Bueno was taken to Roosevelt Hospital for low blood pressure and was released.
Investigators said the kids were dropped off at Mickey Mantle School in Manhattan at approximately 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
The school is a special needs school, according to Rivera.
The bus driver and matron left the bus parked in front of the school, according to investigators.
Bueno was discovered sleeping on the bus at about 10:30 a.m., according to investigators.
School officials called police.
"I cried. My heart dropped. I was nervous," said Cindy Rivera, Bueno's mother. "I was with my daughter on a school trip, and I couldn't do anything. I called my mom to go pick him up."
Police said that the driver, Louisson Paul, 51, and the matron, Michelle Smith, 51, have both been arrested and charged with failing to exercise control of a minor.
Rivera said that the driver and the matron were both new and both started after the school bus strike. She said that she felt they weren't trained enough.
NY1 caught up with Jennifer Wagner, a mom of three who said she also teaches children with special needs. She said the incident is especially upsetting because children, like Derek, can't advocate for themselves.
"You choose to work with children. So if you're going to make that choice, then you need to take full responsibility. And it sounds like that didn't happen," Wagner said. "What's important is that he goes back to school, because I'm sure that his teachers are very anxious to have him back and get him into the routine. It'll be OK."
A spokesperson from the New York City Department of Education said the driver and the matron have been suspended.