Monitor apologizes after boy is left alone on broken-down school bus

Monitor apologizes after boy is left alone on broken-down school bus

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The monitor on a bus in which a child was apparently abandoned Monday evening talked about the incident Friday.

Michelle Walker is apologizing for her role in an incident that resulted in 6-year-old Demonte Beasley being left alone for nearly an hour. He was found wandering alone after dark on Desire Street.

Demonte, who had fallen asleep on the bus, woke up in the BCH Services bus yard after about a dozen students were transferred from the broken-down vehicle.

"Then I was out the gate trying to find my mommy until I found a security guard," said Demonte.

"I could hear him yelling out for his mother, crying," said security guard Craig Preston, who took the boy in and called 911.

Now, the bus monitor who was supposed to help transfer Demonte from one bus to another, is stepping forward.

"I just want the truth to come out," said bus monitor Michelle Walker.

Walker says she took 12 children to the new bus and did not notice that Demonte wasn't among them.

"I should have counted them before I got off the bus," she said. "I did wake him up, but he's small."

Walker thought the bus driver would do the final check.

"We should have been more careful with him. He's a child. We were wrong, totally wrong," she said.

No one knew Demonte was missing until the driver drove the new bus to his bus stop at North Miro and Gallier.

"I was waiting for him to come off, but he didn't come off," said Demonte's aunt, Emona Matthews.

The monitor tells us it's a training issue. She says when it comes to how BCH Services transports schoolchildren, there are no policies or procedures on anything.

"I didn't get trained," she said. "I wasn't told what to do, or how to do it," she said.

We went to the BCH yard to get some answers, but the company had no comment. Demonte attends Lagniappe Academies in Treme, which is now looking for a new bus company.

"We have two bids that we made contact, and we put three out," said Lagniappe Dean Rodney Brown.

No charges have been brought against anyone involved in the case. The NOPD is waiting for a report from HANO, which was the first to respond to the security guard's 911 call.

Demonte's mother is eager for HANO and the NOPD to wrap up their reports on this case. She says she doesn't want to see this happen to any other children. In the meantime, Demonte is back in school and appears to be doing fine.

His principal hopes to have a new bus company in place after the Mardi Gras holiday.

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