Bucks school van driver suspended after child left in vehicle

A driver for the Bucks County Intermediate Unit has been suspended after leaving a child alone in a van for hours, the unit says. (Photo from bucksiu.org)

A school van driver in Bucks County has been suspended after leaving a child in a vehicle for several hours on Tuesday.

The Bucks County Intermediate Unit van driver left a student alone in the vehicle from about 9:30 a.m. until noon, Barry Galasso, the unit's executive director, wrote in a message to parents and guardians.

The Intermediate Unit provides education, support and other services for children with special needs.

An on-site nurse attended to the child, who was then taken to a hospital for an evaluation, the message said. The student was released later that day.

The driver has been suspended and termination proceedings are pending, Galasso said in the message.

"Transporting precious children each day to and from school requires careful planning and coordination, keeping student safety at the forefront," he said. "This incident was an exception, not at all typical of the behavior of our staff."

The temperature in the region Tuesday morning was in the low 80s.

The Intermediate Unit has notified parents of other children who were transported by the driver and is cooperating with police and other investigators.

The unit is also providing additional training to staff.

"The staff of the Bucks County Intermediate Unit is heartbroken and concerned," Galasso's message says. "We extend our deepest apologies to the student and parents as well as to our entire community and pledge to work with you to rebuild the trusting relationship that is at the center of your child’s education with the Intermediate Unit."

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.