Child left alone on school bus for 4 hours

January 20, 2000|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County school bus driver and an attendant were suspended from their jobs for five days without pay yesterday, a day after a 3-year-old boy was left alone on a bus in a storage yard for about four hours.

The driver, Louise N. McLean, 57, of Glen Arm and the attendant, Elisabeth Linde, 64, of Perry Hall apparently failed to complete a search of the bus Tuesday, leaving 3-year-old Malik S. Lucas alone in a locked bus at a gated yard near Kenwood High School in eastern Baltimore County, said Rita Fromm, director of transportation for the school system.

Fromm interviewed McLean and Linde yesterday. The five-day suspension is standard punishment for failing to check a bus for students or possessions at the end of a trip, she said.

Attempts to reach McLean and Linde for comment were unsuccessful.

Baltimore County police have turned over investigation of the incident to the county Department of Social Services.

Malik's mother, Nicole T. Lucas of the Hillendale area, said she became worried Tuesday when her son failed to return home from his pre-kindergarten classes at the Halstead Academy elementary school near Hillendale. Malik has a speech impediment that makes it difficult for him to communicate, she said.

Lucas sent the boy's father, Ben T. Wilkins, to Halstead to look for Malik. School administrators told Wilkins that Malik had not come to school.

"But he did. We put him on the bus," Lucas said yesterday.

Yesterday, Malik seemed to be doing fine. He attended classes at Halstead but refused to ride the bus, said Lucas, adding that she no longer trusts school bus drivers. "I am very angry," she said.

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