Forgotten special needs child spent 31-degree day locked inside bus depot
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Forgotten special needs child spent 31-degree day locked inside bus depot

A special needs child spent a day locked inside a Melbourne bus depot last week after he was forgotten during school drop-off.

Channel Seven reported that a seven-year-old boy attending Monash Special Developmental School was left on a Crown Coaches bus last Thursday, when temperatures soared to 31 degrees.

The child was unharmed, as he had a packed lunch with him and is thought to have slept through much of the day in the bus, which was parked in an undercover area of Nunawading depot.

He was reportedly discovered in the afternoon before the bus was to leave again for the school pick-up run.

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A Crown Coaches bus.

A Crown Coaches bus.Credit:Crown Coaches.

Crown Charters has sacked the driver and supervisor involved, according to Channel Seven.

The incident has since been confirmed by the school and Department of Education and Training.

Monash Special Developmental School principal, Helen McCoy, said she was "appalled" at what occurred.

"This was completely unacceptable and we are pleased that the bus company has taken tough action against the driver and chaperone," she said.

"To make sure this doesn't happen again, we are also now calling parents immediately when the child is believed to be absent."

An almost identical incident occurred in June last year when another special needs child was locked on a bus parked in a depot operated by Crown Coaches for more than five hours.

At the time Crown Coaches issued a statement through the Bus Association of Victoria, saying they had "clarified their procedures to prevent such an incident from recurring".

"Crown Coaches have operated special school bus services for 45 years. They are the largest special school bus operator in the state. They have never had an incident of this nature before. This failure to adhere to company policy and provide the highest levels of care to a student could have had far worse ramifications and Crown Coaches deeply regrets the matter," the statement said.

Fairfax Media was unable to reach Crown Coaches for a response after business hours on Thursday.

The Department of Education and Training is reviewing its arrangement with the bus company.

"This is totally unacceptable and is being thoroughly investigated by the department," a department spokeswoman said.

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