The mother of an autistic boy says her son was abandoned on a school bus Tuesday morning. Maisha Jones claims the Bakersfield City School District didn't let her know about it until an hour after school ended. The school district says they are investigating.
Five-year-old Micah is getting extra love now. His mother is trying to regain trust, saying the trauma of being left alone has set him back socially.
"My heart breaks when I think about it, his face on the bus, wondering where are they," said Jones.
Jones says she put Micah on the special needs bus at 8:40 Tuesday morning. She says a driver and an aide were on board. Instead of dropping him off at Evergreen Elementary School, she says Micah was left seat belted on the bus and wasn't found until afternoon pickups, more than four hours later.
Then, she says he was put on another bus and sent home without eating or using the restroom. And, Jones says she wasn't told about it until 2:30 p.m., an hour after he was been dropped off.
"I know he was afraid. I know he was scared and they never... When they dropped him off they should have told me that he was there by himself," said Jones.
Steve Gabbitas, Public Information Manager with the Bakersfield City School District, says they are investigating what happened. He says it's policy for drivers to check their buses twice, every seat, once after the last stop and again at the bus barn. In this case, he says Micah was found after two to three hours.
And, he says, as school policy, they called Micah's mom when he was absent, but no one answered the call.
"The most important thing for our school district is the safety and well-being of our students. Something like this is very serious and we take it very seriously as well," said Gabbitas.
But, Jones says this has created a serious setback for her autistic son. Now, she's trying to make happy memories to replace those hours spent alone.
"I thought my son was safe. That's why I called you guys. I thought my son was safe and my son wasn't safe," said Jones.
Jones took her son to the hospital Tuesday to make sure he wasn't dehydrated. He's physically fine and Jones says he won't ride the bus anymore.
The district says they can't comment on whether the bus driver or the aide are still on the job or will be punished until after their investigation.