2 accused of leaving special needs student on school bus


LAKE WALES, Fla. (AP) – A central Florida school bus driver and attendant are accused of negligent child abuse after officials say they left a 13-year-old special needs child on the bus on two separate occasions.

Polk County Sheriff’s officials announced the arrests of 51-year-old Gale Brown and 57-year-old Gwendolyn Simmons on Thursday.

Deputies say the student was sleeping with Simmons sitting behind him on March 2. Brown stopped at the Lake Wales school and everyone else got off the bus. Brown then drove to another location, parked the bus and left with Simmons. The child woke up 15 minutes later, climbed out a window and hitch-hiked and walked about 30 miles home.

The same thing happened March 8. A digital video system recorded both incidents.

Records don’t indicate whether Brown and Simmons have attorneys.

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