8-year-old Billingsport student missing from school for hours after falling asleep on bus

PAULSBORO, New Jersey (WPVI) -- An 8-year-old Billingsport Elementary student was left on a bus Thursday and remained missing from school for about three hours after she fell asleep in her seat, officials said.

Her mother, Lauren Akley, realized her daughter Aleeha wasn't at school when she didn't see her on stage during a Christmas concert.

"I immediately went completely numb because now I'm wondering, did she get off the bus? Is she somewhere asleep on the bus? Who is she with," Akley said.

A frantic search ensued and the child was found sound asleep in the back of the bus. Akley said her daughter is fine, but the ordeal was frightening.

"I went from calm, cool, collected, to sobbing uncontrollably," Akley said.

Aleeha spoke to Action News and says she was sound asleep when the driver shook her leg,

"He said, 'Aleeha, you have to get up cause you have to go to school.' And I said, 'How?' and it is like, I think I missed my Christmas concert."

Paulsboro Interim Superintendent, Dr. Walter Quint, says the driver and an aide did not do the necessary check when kids get on and off the bus.

A daily log is supposed to be kept and the bus searched for sleepy kids.

"That didn't happen. We have suspended the driver and the aide," Quint said.

Police and the state board of education are investigating. The district hired the bus driver just this year.

The status of the driver and the aide will be determined after the conclusion of the investigation.
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