A school bus driver who failed to notice that a 5-year-old remained aboard after parking at the bus barn in Gardiner on May 16 has lost her job, and a new procedure is in place to help ensure no child is left behind again.

“We confirmed that the student was indeed left on the bus unsupervised,” said Patricia Hopkins, superintendent of Maine School Administrative District 11, the Gardiner area schools.

On Monday, Hopkins said that the bus driver, a woman who drove a school bus for the district for several years, “is no longer an employee of MSAD 11.” The district has about 23 drivers.

Hopkins also said she could provide no other information about the driver, including her name, because it was a personnel matter.

The boy made it home safely in a police cruiser after he was spotted about 4:30 p.m. that day walking alone along U.S. Route 201 apparently trying to get home. A good Samaritan stopped to help and called police.

The bus depot is on Pushard Lane, just of Route 201.

Hopkins, who said she talked to the boy’s mother, was unsure whether the boy had ridden a school bus since then.

She also described a step that has been added in the procedures followed when bus drivers park the buses at the end of the run.

She said each bus driver now has a “X” magnet on the dashboard, and at the end of the every run, after checking the bus for any remaining children, the bus driver places the X on the outside bumper.

“It shows the director of operations that the buses have indeed been checked,” she said. “If X is not there, the director knows it’s something for follow-up. The driver either forgot the magnet or forgot to inspect bus.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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