The bus matron of a special needs bus owned by Outstanding Transport, Inc. has been charged with felony reckless endangerment, after forgetting about a 22-year-old passenger and leaving him strapped in his seat on the bus over New Year’s Eve in below-freezing temperatures. He was found yesterday morning at 10:30am and is in good condition, although his sister can’t imagine how he could have been overlooked in the first place: “He’s like 6’2 and hunches over, the seats are not even high.”
The company hasn’t responded to media inquiries about the matter, and seems to be in terrified-PR-lockdown-mode: we called to ask if they have a 24-hour emergency number and they refused to talk to us, saying, “Call our attorney. You can get all the information from our attorney. Call that number, sir.” *click*
We don’t understand why the bus matron wasn’t contacted first when the man didn’t show up at home. And that got us wondering: what the hell is a bus matron? And what good is a bus matron if she’s not available for information as soon as your kid goes missing? Our search for more information kept turning up past bus matron crime stories but few definitions—not even a Wikipedia entry! This page equates it to jobs like “hall monitor” and “federal agent” (you can make your own joke there), which left us thinking that bus matrons are likely overlooked or forgotten by some parents, the equivalent to museum security guards. These discussions among parents of autistic children show that your best bet is to be proactive in getting to know your child’s bus driver and/or matron, so that she doesn’t think of your kid as just a nameless face.
You should also find out about emergency contacts and policies from the company providing the transportation. Outstanding Transport should have something in place to deal with situations like this, but we found nothing on their website and as we mentioned above, they’re refusing to talk or share info—which makes us wonder if they’re really the dependable and competent special needs transportation service they claim to be.
“Bus Matron Said To Have Left Special Needs Student On Bus” [NY1]