NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A Newport News grandmother is looking for answers after her 7-year-old grandson woke up alone at a bus barn.
Sheri Robinson said her grandson, Marcus, is a first-grader at Newsome Park Elementary School.
“Around twelve, one o’clock, two strangers brought my grandson home, and I’m like ‘Why aren’t you in school?'” Robinson asked.
Yesterday morning, she saw him get on the school bus with her own eyes so she was confused when he showed up at her doorstep just hours later with two strangers.
The young boy tearfully explained to his grandmother how he fell asleep on the bus and woke up alone. Marcus said he had to push the school bus door open to get out and tried to walk to school.
“They saw the video and said they saw that the driver never checked the seats, said that she pulled in the parking lot,” she said. “She parked the bus, and she just got out of the bus. Then after a while, they saw Marcus get off the bus and say they saw him push the door open and walk off.”
Newport News Public Schools confirmed the incident with Marcus’ grandmother. They allegedly told Robinson there’s a video of the school bus driver exiting the bus without checking to see if anyone else was still on and that it’s the procedure to do so.
Robinson tells WAVY News school officials saw young Marcus exit the bus later in the same video.
The two good Samaritans found Marcus wandering near Old Towne Market on 39th Street and brought him home. Old Towne Market is just over a quarter of a mile from where the buses were parked.
“What if someone else had picked him up?” Robinson worried. “People are out here kidnapping kids and doing God knows what to them. What if somebody else had picked him up? Anything could have happened. He could get hit crossing the streets and everything. What if a train was coming when he was going towards the railroad track? Anything could have happened out there.”
In a statement to Nexstar’s WAVY, NNPS said, “The safety of our students is of the highest priority in Newport News Public Schools. This incident is being thoroughly investigated by the school division. Our Transportation Director and the student’s principal remain in contact with the student’s family. The bus driver involved in this incident has been removed from her duties and Child Protective Services has been notified.”
10 On Your Side learned the district is already down about 93 bus drivers. You can apply to drive for NNPS by clicking here.
Robinson says until there is some kind of permanent reassurance, she won’t feel confident sending seven-year-old Marcus to school.
“Do I have to call every day after he’s supposed to be at school to check to see that he makes it to school?” Robinson questioned. “Something needs to happen. When we send our children to school, we feel that they are supposed to be safe with the one they’re with. If they can’t be safe with the bus driver, what do we do?”