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Disabled boy left alone on schoolbus

By Sonya Bateson

Police say they will investigate the case of a disabled 7-year-old Kawerau boy left on a bus for almost five hours if the Ministry of Education asks them to do so. Photo / Thinkstock
Police say they will investigate the case of a disabled 7-year-old Kawerau boy left on a bus for almost five hours if the Ministry of Education asks them to do so. Photo / Thinkstock

Police say they will investigate the case of a disabled 7-year-old Kawerau boy left on a bus for almost five hours if the Ministry of Education asks them to do so.

Toni and Pita Ramanui were upset to discover their son Daniel, who has cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus (water on the brain), had been left alone on a school bus for 4 hours without food or drink on Friday, February 24.

The Kawerau Coaches driver allegedly had a memory lapse and forgot to take Daniel to Kawerau South School, instead parking the bus in her driveway.

It was not until the following Tuesday that the couple found out what had happened to their son.

A Kawerau Coaches spokeswoman said the company had not found out until the Monday about the incident after being told by a member of the public. The bus driver had since resigned.

She said an apology was offered to the Ramanui family the next day but the family are angry over what they say has been a lack of action.

Mrs Ramanui said police were not considering charges against the driver as "there was no basis for inquiry without criminal intent".

"She's not even going to be charged or anything. It's not a criminal offence, yet if I had [left Daniel in a vehicle], I would have been locked up.

"That's why it's frustrating, the only reason anything is getting done is because we spoke out. If we hadn't, it would have just got brushed under the table."

Kawerau police said that after the Ministry of Education investigated, police might be asked to inquire further.

A ministry spokesman said they were continuing their investigation.

Mr Ramanui said police should have begun investigating straight away and not had to wait for a Ministry of Education report.

- NZ Herald

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