A five-year-old boy left alone on a locked, cold school bus for several hours last week is now afraid to ride the bus, according to his mother.
Tara Dendy says her son Reign was supposed to take the bus to an after-school program last Thursday. When she arrived that evening to pick him up, she found out he didn't make it.
Police found the boy inside the bus in a Somerville parking lot. He'd apparently fallen asleep during the ride and then spent about three hours by himself.
"It was cold, it was dark and he tried to get out," Dendy told CBS Boston. "He kept saying 'I tried to get out and I couldn't get out.'"
Cambridge Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Jim Maloney said drivers are required to check buses for children after their routes, and called the situation "totally unacceptable."
Eastern Bus Co., a Somerville company contracted by the Cambridge School system, says the driver has been placed on unpaid leave during an investigation and faces possible termination.
The company's director of employee relations, Jim Misercola, told the Cambridge Chronicle the incident is being taken "very seriously."
"Any driver that is found negligent in their duty will be disciplined or terminated accordingly," Misercola said.
Dendy filed a child negligence complaint with the Department of Human Services against the bus company on Monday.
"I just want to make sure that it doesn't happen to the next kid or the next mother," Dendy told the Chronicle. "It may not seem like that much, but one minute of thinking your child is gone is one too many. It’s too much time."
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBos