WALLS, Miss.– 4-year-old Karson Walsh is a brave little boy who was accidently left on a school bus and wandered into nearby woods last Friday in Walls, Mississippi.
His mom, Courtney Walsh, said she and her husband got the shock of their lives when the Walls Head Start Center director said he had not been at school for hours.
“That’s when she proceeded to tell me Karson had been left on the bus,” she said. “I just don’t understand. How did they miss Karson that morning?”
Karson had apparently fallen asleep, but the driver and monitor didn’t notice he was still there after the other children had gotten off the bus.
“Karson never got off and that means the bus monitor didn’t do a bus sweep and they left Karson buckled in the car seat on the bus,” Walsh said.
She said Karson woke up feeling afraid.
“He says he woke up he was hot. He was bored and he was scared, and he got off the bus. He says he went up a hill and says momma I was in the forest,” said Walsh. “Karson won’t let me out of his sight. He’s constantly repeating it over and over again, I was in the forest.”
Apparently, a neighbor saw the little boy and called the bus driver who took him back to the center.
Walsh said this could have ended badly for her son.
“I cried and couldn’t do anything but thank God for his grace and his mercy. Things could have been way worse for Karson. It was a danger for him be left on the bus alone and then to get off the bus to find help,” she said.
WREG spoke by phone with Eloise McClinton, the executive director of ICS Head Start, which oversees the Walls Head Start Center, to get answers.
“Yes, Alex, unfortunately, one of our children was left on the bus. We do have rules and regulations which our staff are trained on a regular basis,” she said.
McClinton admits that mistakes were made and the bus driver and the bus monitor have been fired saying:
“With human error the child fell asleep and the child was left on the bus, but happily the child was safe and returned back to his parents. Regarding the two employees, after a thorough investigation, those two employees are no longer with our organization.”
However, Walsh says she and her husband have contacted the Mississippi Child Protective Services and the DeSoto County Sheriff’s office with hope that charges will be filed against the former driver and monitor.
“If I had left Karson in the car unattended and he wandered off somewhere, I would be in jail. My face would be all over the news, child endangerment, child neglect. I feel they should receive the same punishment,” she said.