Investigation launched after Mass. 3rd grader misses his drop-off and wakes up in bus yard alone

The man threatened the boy and coerced him into taking inappropriate photos of himself.

ORANGE, Mass. — School and transportation officials have launched an investigation in the town of Orange, after a 9-year-old boy fell asleep on the way to school and woke up alone in a school bus yard, after missing his drop-off.

The boy’s guardian, Teresa Ashby reached out to Boston 25, raising concern about the handling of the incident and communication about it.

Ashby says her grandson, who is a third grader at Fisher Hill Elementary School, had no idea where he was when he woke up and had to push the school bus door open to alert an adult at the bus yard. That yard is about two-and-a-half miles from the school, according to Ashby.

Ashby says she got a text and email from the school on Friday that the boy was absent but was then later notified the young boy was indeed at the school.

She says she learned what happened later that day when her grandson got home from school.

Boston 25 reached out to the school district and the bus company about the incident.

“Please know we are aware of this situation and it is under investigation,” said Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Zielinski. “Orange Elementary Schools contracts with a bus company to provide transportation. That company has been notified about this incident and it has also been reported to the appropriate state agencies.”

The manager of that company, Swift River Bus, says he is also looking into the incident, and he says action may be taken against the bus driver.

“Yes, a student was left on the bus,” said Dan Johnson, Swift River Bus manager. “The driver returned to the bus yard and did their walk through checking the bus and did not see the student under the seat. We are working closely with the school during the investigation. Once the investigation is completed, retraining and disciplinary action may be taken dependent upon the facts presented.”

“I wasn’t getting anywhere until they heard from (Boston 25),” said Ashy, who remains concerned about the lack of communication from the school.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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