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Kindergartner Falls Asleep on Bus, Misses Drop-off

An owner-operator didn't notice a kindergarten student had fallen asleep on her bus until the driver returned home later.

School bus owner-operator LeReine Frampton said she feels horrible that a kindergartner fell asleep on her bus Friday afternoon and wasn't found until Frampton pulled into her driveway much later.

"I was sick all weekend because of this," Frampton said of the mistake, which occurred as she was dropping off St. Rose School kindergartners last week.

Frampton, who has been driving a school bus since 1996, said Friday was the first time she forgot to drop off a student. Frampton was on the last leg of her St. Rose kindergarten run and mistakenly thought she had dropped off all of her charges after three children got off the bus at one stop.

What the school bus owner-operator hadn't noticed was that a fourth student had remained on the bus and was asleep slouched so far down on the seat that Frampton hadn't seen her when she surveyed the vehicle in her mirror.

Frampton said she went to go on another run at Middle Gate School, picking up those students who didn't say anything to her about the still sleeping kindergartner on the bus. She then went to drop off the Middle Gate students before heading home.

Meanwhile, the kindergartner's father having waited for his daughter to be dropped off and not finding her, called St. Rose School, which rang unanswered, not realizing he should have called the district's transportation office instead, according to Frampton and education officials.

Frampton said when she arrived home, she did a walk of her bus and spotted the sleeping kindergartner, at which point, she immediately delivered the girl safely home.

"The kindergartner wasn't upset," Frampton said. "The child was fine."

Frampton said she apologized profusely to the girl's parents, gave them her cell phone number and then called later that night to make sure everything was OK with the girl.

"It has never happened to me before," Frampton said, adding the first week of school can be difficult.

Mistakes, such as this can happen, and other Newtown parents, such as Kim Weber, said she remembered her daughter being left on the bus on the first day of kindergarten many years ago. While traumatic at the time, Weber said she was later able to joke about it.

At the same time, Board of Education chairman Bill Hart said the mistake was a serious one and that he would like to learn more about how it happened.

"We need to make sure we're not panicking parents," he said.

For instance, one of his questions has to do with a common procedure among bus drivers to walk the length of the vehicle to make sure nothing has been left behind from one run before starting a new one.

"There should be a check and balance," Hart said.

Frampton said by the time she got to Middle Gate School, students were already being loaded onto buses and lined up for hers so she didn't get a chance to walk the length of the bus. She also said she was in the bus at all times and the kindergartner was never left alone in the vehicle.

The school bus owner-operator, who also works as a town Democratic registrar of voters, said she has not been contacted by Hart or the superintendent of schools for them to hear her side of the story, adding she believes she is being targeted due to the school bus contract controversy and unfairly portrayed.

Frampton said she doesn't want parents to be concerned about their children riding her bus.

"I do take care of my kids," she said of the students on her bus.

Hoa Nguyen September 16, 2011 at 09:02 PM
Sorry about that Concerned Parent. I was away from my computer so I couldn't repost for you but I see that Emma has done that already, so thanks Emma. Not sure what happened to the comment(s) -- no one from Patch deleted it.
Concerned Parent September 17, 2011 at 12:08 AM
Emma - Yes, those are the comments. Thank you for reposting them. Hoa & Mary Ann Jacob - I think it was my mistake, as I was trying to edit and may have deleted. Happy Friday Everyone!
Susan McGuinness Getzinger September 17, 2011 at 12:33 AM
Dear Mr. Kelley, Sorry for the delay - I am a mom first and foremost, so I was attending to my responsibilities, and could not get to the computer earlier. Lambasting means to attack verbally. No one has been attacked. I simply asked a question. If my asking whether or not the two people employed in our school administration, who have the same last names as two of our BOE members, is offensive in anyway, I apologize. I didn’t think the Newtown population, as a whole, were offended by our two BOE members. I did give Mr. Gaines credit at a BOE meeting re: moving our ERD (early release days) to Friday. This happened after my transportation hearing. I do not have the luxury of time or money to do personal searches on our citizen’s relatives. Most of my research is done late at night and into the early morning hours when my children are sleeping. It is research re: my children's civil rights, safety & welfare. I will not stop trying to attain what is theirs and what should never have been taken from them. That would be dereliction of duty on my part. It is my civic duty to alert the citizenry of any violations that happen at what those violations cost taxpayers. **
Susan McGuinness Getzinger September 17, 2011 at 12:38 AM
Sorry if any offense was taken in my asking whether any relation.
Susan McGuinness Getzinger September 17, 2011 at 12:48 AM
To: Dilma - would you stop if people were taking advantage of your children and putting them in harm's way? Look at the SDE's sample bus stop policy and how wide the streets should be (21' or wider). Look up how wide my road is. I did. NOT 21'. Find the famous "no cul de sac policy" and email it to me - no one from the Admin. or BOE has been able to, though I have it in print from the Administration that it is a policy. I alleged the Superintendent discriminated - only to find out she has many friends in powerful places. The hearing officer ignored my discrimination charge in her decision. She has been a hearing officer in decisions with our BOE attorneys several times (I know of three where she was out of her subject matter jurisdiction- decisions are voided). Do you doubt that what I say about the decisions of some hearing officers being predetermined? Here is an article about NY from the WSJ: Article about NY state and allegedly rigged educational hearings: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118524665215575918.html ps - CT the DISTRICT has the burden of proof, but the hearing officer said I do (in print), and the BOE never had any proof that my children were ineligible. They told me that my baby's health concerns were "no concern of theirs". They are OBLIGATED to find those in the community that are disabled. My baby's health is worse now. Does sleeping help immunity? I have nothing more to say.
G September 17, 2011 at 02:07 AM
It's my understanding that the driver never went to this child's bus stop, where the babysitter was waiting. From what I've read: 1. The bus was empty (except for the driver) before it went to St. Rose. 2. 4 children were picked up at St. Rose. 3. 3 children got off at the same stop. 4. The 4th child fell asleep on the bus and the driver didn't see her in the rear view mirror and/or forgot that she got on the bus. 5. The driver assumed the bus was empty so she didn't go to the sleeping child's bus stop and went to start her next route at Middle Gate instead. 7. The babysitter got worried, so she called the father, who called the school and no one answered. 8. The driver completed her route, went home, and discovered the child still on the bus. 9. The driver then contacted the transportation department, who then contacted the father. I fail to understand why people are so ready to blame the babysitter and the parents when it was clearly the driver's mistake. Perhaps the father should have called the transportation dept. instead of the school, but I'll bet that 90% of the parents in town would call the school first. After all, that's where the child was supposed to be all day! The school system should certainly take some responsibility in this by letting parents know who to call when there's a problem - perhaps even a message on their answering machine at the school? As a parent myself, I would have called the school first, and perhaps the police right after that.
CB September 17, 2011 at 12:10 PM
Janet Robinson in all the districts she worked, this is the first time a child was left. With all the superintendents Newtown has had, Robinson is the first to have our state representatives file charges against them with the State. Robinson is the first superintendent to raise the districts legal costs so high. There are many firsts for Newtown under Mrs. Robinson.
Desiree Galassi September 17, 2011 at 12:43 PM
I would have liked to have read Bill's response to the dissemination of information to the press. News or not, he was not called by Hoa to answer the question if there was a child left on the bus, of his own will offered the information. In this case I would have to agree that as Board chair, this is a misstep if he had not had opportunity to have spoken to all parties and a statement issued as to a plan of action prior to offering any information. It is only fair to all people in question and perhaps would have prevented some unfortunate postings regarding the matter on Parch. An unintentional and unfortunate mistake occurred. A corrective measure will and must take place to ensure it does not happen again. LeReine will receive some sort of consequence according to policy. I have to say, though, after reading all these comments, LeReine, the parent, and the babysitter have received enough lashings and in my mind are sentenced to "time already served". For those who know what this means, "Let the one without sin cast the first stone," let's remember we are all human. A little more understanding and a little less infighting and name calling makes for productive resolutions. Dilma, I'm with you on this one.
Desiree Galassi September 17, 2011 at 12:52 PM
To be clear, I am not faulting the parent nor the babysitter. My comment suggests only that they have received enough punishment and public scrutiny.
Susan McGuinness Getzinger September 18, 2011 at 01:11 PM
CT SDE Sample transportation policy - page 28 - shows hazards, road width, RR and lack of barriers all hazardous: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/legal/workshop_package.pdf If Mr. Hart does not want to "panic" parents, perhaps he and the other BOE members should follow the safety policies that they allegedly ignored while allegedly violating procedures in my case. They had no burden of proof, they allegedly illegally put the burden of proof on me (against CGA rules) they did not have hearing in ten days from first or second request, they ignored 16 petitions from neighbors, as well as emails sighting safety concerns, including from the Superintendent, they gave 5 seperate decisions, the third one breaking the first two and even the fourth, written by their lawyer, Floyd Dugas, was NOT accepted by Mr. Harris of the SDE's legal division and he was given an additional ten days, which is against procedure (ten days should have been January 30, 2010; His written decision that wasn't accepted was in Feb & then he was given an additional 10 days) - ignored CT DMV "no backing of school buses" 14-275c-18 http://www.ct.gov/dmv/lib/dmv/regulations/275c.pdf I'd go own, but I have to make breakfast. Good Morning, Newtown!
Susan McGuinness Getzinger September 18, 2011 at 01:13 PM
If the IPN's platform is transparency & the BOE members voting against the safety issues are IPN members, then IPN should call for a full investigation in my case to see if their members are falling below the platform that they are to abide by.
Susan McGuinness Getzinger September 18, 2011 at 01:18 PM
CT SDE Sample transportation policy - page 28 - shows hazards, road width, RR and lack of barriers all hazardous: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/legal/workshop_package.pdf
Mike Kelley September 19, 2011 at 01:46 AM
Thanks Susan for the reply, however, a simple call to the First Selectmans office, probably would have resovled your questions as to who the right Gaines and Harts were. No cost and no extensive research needed.
so1 September 19, 2011 at 11:26 AM
Maybe if you were that childs parent...you would have been AT the bus stop and questioned the driver when your child did not get off the bus! That would have solved the whole problem. Not having to go look for him/her after the fact. I would love to know the secretary's work hours at the school, if the parent noticed the child missing right after drop off. And, there is something very wrong with the children we are raising in this day and age if a whole bus load of middle schoolers got on and road home yet not one thought to mention a sleeping child! It is a very irresponsible generation we are raising. The bus driver did nothing wrong. A kid fell asleep, it happens. Had she gone into her home without ever checking the bus at the end of her run, then you would have a problem. That would have been a mistake. Sometimes there is no blame...unfortunate things happen in life. No harm no foul.
pistachio September 19, 2011 at 01:46 PM
What if that bus driver went into her house without checking the bus when she got home. The child could have been there to the next day and an Ambler Alert would have gone out. The drivers should check their buses at the end of each run before they pick up other students at other schools. So what if the kids on the next run were waiting for the bus. It would only take a minute for the bus drivers to walk to the back of the buses and look at each and every seat.
Susan September 19, 2011 at 02:11 PM
so1, you seem confused. FRAMPTON DIDN'T GO TO THE BUS STOP!! She thought the kid wasn't on the bus, so she didn't go!
Todd Fox September 19, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Two details seem to be missing from the story, or perhaps it is unclear. 1) Did the bus go to the child's stop? Does the bus go to all of the stops every day, or does the driver ever "skip" stops, if, for example, a child is absent? 2) Was the child's parent at the stop waiting to see a five year old safely in to the house, or was he waiting inside? Is it required that a caregiver be physically at the stop? If they are not already in place, these two steps would go a long way to ensuring that a child has not been overlooked and that the children are not returning from school to an empty home. Ms. Frampton sounds very professional. A professional is not somebody who never makes a mistake—a professional is someone who knows how to correct her mistakes, and Ms. Frampton certainly did that. Thank you!
Jane Doe September 19, 2011 at 06:51 PM
what are all with the "what if" the child was unharmed and brought back her family, there was no amber alert, why are you making a situationout of something that DIDNT happen!?
Susan McGuinness Getzinger September 20, 2011 at 02:42 AM
Very clear comment about professionalism. Well said and I agree.
Nancy September 21, 2011 at 01:34 AM
i'm sure this driver plotted and planned for months ahead to do this to this child and her distraught and hysterical parents. there were predators just waiting for her to step outside the bus long enough to whisk the child away to some dark, nether region of immoral intent and perform countless unnatural acts against the snoozing kid. actually, none of this occurred, yet the 200 comments here reveal an entire community of people with enough unfounded fear to singularly destroy someones livelyhood for their own senseless vengeance. why was the child needing to sleep anyway? it usually fun to ride a bus, and children are usually wide awake, looking out the windows. seems to me soemone better investigate the parents and the childs home life.
Mike Kelley September 22, 2011 at 03:02 AM
She is a little girl. I cannot believe you would suggest she needs to have the home life investigated! You are way out of line and do not have the gumption to post your real name.Shame on you Nancy if that is even your real name.One reason why I question the decison of this site to allow those to post with no verification of anything. Get a life and some backbone if you want to attack someone with facts.
chippys September 22, 2011 at 05:22 AM
It's bad enough that our poor teachers have to be "parents in school" , but now our bus drivers should memorize every child that enters/leaves the bus?? The biggest mistake I see in this story is why didn't the kids getting ON the bus say something? Not one child said anything, or even try to wake up the sleeping girl? THIS is what blows my mind!! Even the noise of the other kids I think would've woken up this child. My other question is: even though LeReine claims to have driven "right to the school", did she not even drive past this child's stop? If she had, I'm sure she would've seen the babysitter at the stop waiting. If in fact she didn't drive past the stop, then the babysitter blame is moot. I just have a hard time thinking that not one kid getting on the bus said "Hey bus driver, there's a sleeping child here"!! And if they did, the proper call would've been made; but the same action taken. The girl was brought home safely and was checked on later by the driver. We expect all other adults to be "faultless", in a 15yr run with no other errors, I do not believe any action should be taken against LeReine. I, for one, would NOT want to drive in the conditions of uncertain weather, deal with the noise, AND be expected to memorize the number of kids on the bus??? No way, and today's drivers should be applauded for the great job they do. Stop bubble-wrapping the kids today and realise a MISTAKE was made and corrected. Far worse things could've happened.
Nancy September 22, 2011 at 08:28 AM
Huffy are we? Do your own investigation of facts, i'm only here to offer alternate opportunities and viewpoints, certainly not to challenge some little girls/parents right to privacy. As others have mentioned, why did NO other person even mention the existence of the girl on the bus? Are they, too, all fearful of reprisal for expressing alternate and informative information? there's enough hidden abuse ongoing, sleepless nights, homeless and fearful (voiceless/bullied/isolated) children for you to feel true outrage about and to help with some positive outcome. (other than ruin one woman's reputation)
wasabilori-newtown September 22, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Well said!
wasabilori-newtown September 24, 2011 at 06:40 PM
http://citysquares.com/b/all-star-transportation-llc-959343 read the comments about ALL - STAR.. yes it's torrington, but it is the company! get ready newtowners! and don't forget about the BOE's raises they just gave themselves....
Hawleyville Resident September 27, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Bus driver made a mistake not checking bus between routes - thats has been established. But it was never established she didnt stop at the childs stop, assuming she did stop at the stop, when the child didnt get off what did the babysitter do? Were they not at the stop? Has any of this been established.
Hoa Nguyen September 27, 2011 at 01:56 PM
It has been established that the bus never stopped at the last stop and went from the second last stop directly to Middle Gate. Thought it was clear in the story but I guess it wasn't.
philip carroll September 27, 2011 at 03:13 PM
for kindergarten children it is "fun" to ride the bus to school, but they are tired on the way home. Remember, they are usually only 4-5 years old.
Karen Visca September 27, 2011 at 03:46 PM
Yes she is a little girl. When my daughter went to morning kindergarten and came home at 12:00 she was tired. It is alot for kidis that are 5 years old even if they have had a good night sleep.
Woodbury Connecticut September 27, 2011 at 04:07 PM
It wasn't clear. Thank you for the clarification.

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