5-year-old boy with autism nearly forgotten on a Lee County school bus

Ryan Maldonado’s five-year-old son Ryan Jr. struggles with autism. The kindergartner rides a smaller bus than this one, with special needs staff that Maldonado has to trust to make sure his son gets to school safe.

Maldonado says he’s furious after learning Ryan was left on the bus Tuesday morning on the way to Trafalgar Elementary School in Cape Coral, “We shouldn’t have to worry putting these kids on the bus.. And we do … What makes it even worse is there’s an aid on the bus so there’s two adults to ten children and you forget one?”

School District of Lee County officials say the bus driver noticed a student sleeping, then immediately notified dispatch and returned to the school. Maldonado says his son’s teacher said Ryan was 30 minutes late to school.

But dad says’ that’s too late for comfort, “The fact is if they would have got back to that bus barn, and they didn’t double check, he would have been left in the Florida heat all day and kids die like that.”

Other Lee County parents like Angela Jones who used to work as a child care licensor says the bus staff should be held accountable, “They have the ultimate accountability to make sure that child gets off the bus and gets where they’re supposed to be.”

For now, Maldonado says he will be driving Ryan to school while he waits for more answers from transportation officials, “It’s not just for my son it’s for all these kids that can’t speak for themselves. ” want to speak up for him and hopefully make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Maldonado tells WINK News authorities are reviewing the bus cameras.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
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