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August 27, 2003

School bus driver who neglected deaf child reassigned

From: Tuscaloosa News, AL - Aug 27, 2003

The Associated Press

A school bus driver accused of leaving a 4-year-old deaf child unattended on a school bus for several hours in December has been reassigned to a school cafeteria job.

The Mobile County school board decided not to fire Wanda Friday over neglecting the child on the bus.

"There is no question she violated some rules. There is no question she was negligent. She admitted it," school board attorney Bob Campbell said Tuesday.

But Friday had no prior offenses during her 11-year employment with the school system and was "very remorseful" at a personnel hearing Monday, Campbell said.

Friday had been suspended from her $12,000-per-year job without pay since February.

Her attorney said she's "very pleased" to be going back to work, even in a different position.

The 4-year-old attended Southwest Regional School for the Deaf and Blind and was discovered at the Irvington bus barn the morning of Dec. 4.

The student, described by a school official as being "multi-handicapped," had been sitting in a parked, empty school bus for two hours after he was first picked up at his Bayou La Batre-area bus stop.

Copyright © 2002 The Tuscaloosa News