FRIGHTENING: Jackson Child Falls Asleep On School Bus, Wakes Up In Empty Bus Lot [EXCLUSIVE]

A Jackson family is in shock and disbelief after their child went missing this afternoon, only to be found wandering in an empty school bus parking lot.

The incident unfolded when a mother of a first-grader realized her daughter should have been home from school, but wasn’t.

According to sources, the school bus showed up to the Lakewood school at approximately 4:30 p.m., an hour later than the normal 3:30 p.m. dismissal. The parents were aware of this delay.

But then at about 5:30 p.m., the mother started getting worried, and asked over a chat if the other children were home. When the other mothers affirmed that their children were home, she began panicking. She immediately called the school, but the school stated the girl was not there.

She then tried the Jackson School District, but there was no answer – apparently due to it being after hours.

After approximately a half hour of panicking, the father of the girl received a phone call stating his child was at a school bus parking lot, all alone.

It turns out the six-year-old had fallen asleep on the bus, but the bus driver – said to be a substitute – failed to check all the seats before parking the bus back in the lot.

The child woke up to an empty bus in middle of the school bus lot and got off the bus, not knowing where to go or what to do. She began wandering the lot.

Luckily, B’Chasdei Hashem, bus driver and hero Ms. Lea (Shelly) Johnson who had begun locking up the lot spotted a child wandering, and immediately went over to her. After gaining the child’s trust, the child told Ms. Johnson her father’s cell number, and he was contacted. Ms. Johnson waited with the frightened child for about a half hour until the mother arrived.

As of approximately 7:30 p.m., the mother had still not received a call back from the District.

When contacted, Jackson Board of Education member Tzvi Herman told TLS, “the District is aware of the situation and investigating.”

Another Jackson official tells TLS a full investigation into the incident is being conducted, and pressure will be put on the district to implement safety procedures, including but not limited to activating an emergency district number, as well as giving the schools bus tracking ability.

UPDATE 8:20 PM: The parents of the girl released the following statement to TLS:

“We, the parents of the young child, would like to take a moment to thank the driver who found our daughter, Ms. Johnson, for her kindness and compassion concerning our daughter. We will be forever grateful. We also would like to thank Mr. Tzvi Herman and all those who are working behind the scenes investigating what went wrong here, and to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. We are just grateful to the One above that our daughter is safe and sound.”


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There are 38 Comments to "FRIGHTENING: Jackson Child Falls Asleep On School Bus, Wakes Up In Empty Bus Lot [EXCLUSIVE]"

  • Goose Gossage says:

    Goose Gossage is report by this kind of irresponsibility.

  • Jake says:

    Not to blame anyone, but why wouldn’t you call the Police?

  • sarah says:

    wow!!!!!! baruch Hashem we have to appreciate when our children come home safe and sound

  • Steve says:

    Amazing how the Township finds money for every stupid thing yet doesn’t have a bus tracking system or even an emergency number.

    But we’re supposed to believe that schools really care about our kids…

    • Anonymous says:

      The Police should have been called because the Police Dept does have emergency phone numbers of Board of Education Administration for exactly this reason.

      Thankfully this had a good outcome.

  • Sarah says:

    Wow!! This is absolutely frightening! Every parents nightmare! There is no one to talk to past 3:30 PM! So scary!

  • Wonder woman says:

    How old was the girl?

  • frightened parent says:

    6 years old

  • call CSO Radio says:

    he has been marketing a system which may be adapted for buses

  • Goldberg says:

    Need to take seriously!!
    This ended good , but not always can we get lucky!!!
    Changes need to be made right away

  • concerned parent says:

    Thank you Hashem, and Ms. Johnson,

    We need accountability! My daughter was supposed to be on that bus, but after seeing the incompetence since last week Thursday, we decided it would be safer for us to drive her. We need cameras/monitors, especially with such young children.

  • Avraham says:

    This should be a wake up call that the district needs real reform.My daughter sits next to this girl on the bus and there is constantly problems with this route and no one to talk to at the district.

  • Mother says:

    It is true this was a sub but this was the second day that the sub arrived at the school an hour late. I’ve also heard that the children are telling the bus driver where to go, where to stop etc. That sounds like that could cause the bus a bus driver to get flustered while driving which isn’t safe.
    I think there should be an assistant on each bus with a cell phone that the parents can contact.

  • yisroel w says:

    As parents of a child who goes on the same bus as this girl, this story freightened us and we sure hope the jackson TWP takes immediate appropriate action….the bus driver in this case was careless but the bus had no business coming an hour late allowing for the child to fall asleep….who is responsible for that?? again thanks to tzvi herman and all askanim who are there for us…

  • Eli says:

    This is really bad, there is meant to be a automated system that the bus driver needs to go to back to the bus to disarm alarm that goes off once he ends his route.

  • dovid says:

    I have a child on this bus #730 i do not feel safe continuing to put my child on the bus until BASIC safety measure’s are implemented i.e. a monitor, camera’s, tracking system,, its a small price to pay for the safety of all our children

  • MT says:

    Luckily the driver left the bus door open. Usually they’re supposed to close the door for the night. Another proof it was an inexperienced driver, but luckily for the girl.

  • Sara says:

    Bus drivers are responsible to check bus before leaving if any kid is left on it’s a bus law

  • Moshe g says:

    How is it that this 6 year old girl was left on the bus alone with the driver?!
    Who knows what he did or could’ve done to her?!
    How do you let little kids on a bus without an independent bus monitor?

  • Baila says:

    What a Terrible story!!! Something must be fine so this will never happen again

  • SB says:

    Thank you to Ms.Johnson for helping this frightened girl. It is heroes like you that restore our faith in humanity in a world gone nuts

  • Just FYI says:

    My son has a tracker in his bag. Yes there is a cost. But for $20 you can know where your kids is at all times. You can also share the cost with other parents though in an instance like this obviously you can only track the bag with the device. The device I have is called “Tracki” and can be purchased on Amazon

  • Ruby says:

    What are screaming about. Yes the driver needs to check, and one can forget,and 99.9% of the time things end fine , a bus nightmare is what happened last week in willy, as a head counselor if a kid doesn’t come home for 30 min after time u check the bus. Nothing to investigate. driver slipped let’s stop being vultures ready to pounce

  • Frank says:

    Wow….who is in charge at transportation in Jackson? How can They have buses out and no one in the office for emergency? This is shameful..I know at jays they alway have someone in the office till all buses return the transportation director should be on call. tracker are not the solution competents from the top to the bottom is..lucky the child is safe at home.

  • Concernd says:

    Where is the director of transportation? Are we not important enough to stay pass 3:30? Do they leave when the Jackson children go home? these are the question that need to be asked.

  • Very concerned says:

    We choose the best schools for our kids and we don’t take into account the bus ride. Kids alone with a driver is just not safe! There should be a bus monitor from the school on every single elementary school bus!

  • Concerned parent says:

    Why wasn’t someone in the office at transportation? As a parent I would be having heads roll. Thankfully the child was returned home safely. Give that driver who found the child a raise.. I would want the head of transportation fired.

    • Midnight says:

      As someone involved in transportation of children, I would say your an idiot. Going into the complexities of the situation wouldnt help a gung-ho nut-job so no point. But suffice it to say that not always is there “something to be done” about everything, unless of course, you have the worldview of a control-freak.
      To be clear, protocol in this case was not followed, which is why the situation arose in the first place. But again, not every time when there is a mistake is anyone and everyone who could have perhaps theoretically been there, responsible.

  • Another Mother says:

    I had a similar horror story a little over a week ago that thank G-d did not end as frightening as this one.
    But it was Friday and my 5 year old daughter didnt come home yet at her usual time. I figured the bus was just late. At some point I started to get worried. While trying to find out where she was a bus pulled up and dropped off my hysterically crying daughter.

    She had fallen asleep on the bus and the driver didn’t check the seats. He instead continued off to pick up a boys from a boys school. My daughter woke up to the frightening noise of boys on the bus and began to cry. One boy realized there was a little girl on the bus crying and went to tell the driver. I’m so happy she knew her address and they eventually got her home.

    There needs to be a system where the drivers must check every single seat!

  • Scary says:

    My daughter is On the route. The regular bus driver is really great and responsible from personal experience. This was a substitute and this is a disaster. Bus showing up twice in a row an HOUR late! No one to talk to there and no one is interested in helping out and making things better. Disaster how this transportation dept is run

  • Nemo says:

    Ultimately this was the drivers fault but why wasn’t a parent at the stop. She’s 6. Someone should’ve been waiting for her to get off at the bus stop. If they were this would have never happened.a they would have asked where there child was. I’m sure this driver feels terrible. Nobody wants to intentionally put a child in harms way. And I can assure you he was probably running an hour late because they are so short staffed. He was most likely late covering another route before this. I don’t think he was out getting a haircut in between routes. Thank goodness the child is ok. But we are all human and make mistakes. Just glad it wasn’t worse than it was.

  • worried mother says:

    Similar story happened to my 10 year old son, on his way to school he dosed off , and only woke when the bus was picking up next round of girls. The bus driver let him off the bus a few blocks away near an extremely busy street, and bechasdai Hashem he found his way to school. Crazy they have take no responsibility!!

  • amil zola says:

    This isn’t rocket science. Make sure each bus has a two way radio. The driver (regular or sub)is required to call the base and tell them the bus is clear. Do you not realize that there are literally hundreds of transportation companies in the US who use this system?

  • Barak Obama says:

    Why cant we equipt all busses with a computerized check in and check out system, which would facilitate accountability for all children??

  • VeryScary says:

    First, I agree with the previous comment. It is irresponsible for parents not to have a person at the bus stop to pick up a 6 year old. That would have prevented the problem.
    Second, any family who is in that bus route, in my opinion, is mechuyyav to participate in a significant recognition, including monetary, for the heroine of this incident, Ms. Johnson. Kudos to her!

  • Seichel says:

    I put a tracker in my child’s arm it’s a surgery well worth paying for now I can control we’re my kid is at all times. And I put a bodycam

  • Jiobit says:

    I have a Jiobit tracker im my kids knapsack. I never have to worry where they are. One day i realized that my kids bus was involved in an accident due to the bus not moving mid route.

    Worth every penny.

  • Na says:

    Thank God she’s okay and safe she could’ve been hit by a bus or car she definitely had angels protecting her!