TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– What was supposed to be an exciting first day of school for Brody Hunninghake, turned into a nightmare. He spent six hours on a bus and never made it to school. Brody rides a school bus from Topeka to Olathe three days a week.
“He was hospitalized for 31 days, he lost his hearing from that,” his mom Amanda Hunninghake said.
Brody had bacterial meningitis. He now attends the Kansas School for the Deaf. The family was excited for Monday as it was supposed to be the start of a new school year for Brody, but a phone call turned that excitement to heartbreak.
“I got a phone call from my husband about 1:15 that afternoon saying I needed to get up because Brody is on his way home,” Amanda said. “And I’m like what are you talking about? And he said, he’s never been to school. And I’m like what, he left at 6 o’clock in the morning, and he’s like yeah…he has been on the bus this whole time.”
Hunninghake called the bus supervisor and was told the bus driver got lost going to the school.
She said after getting lost, the bus driver drove around Kansas City looking for the Kansas School for the Deaf and never found it. The bus driver finally brought Brody back to the Topeka bus depot when they called the Hunninghake’s.
The supervisor told Hunninghake that the bus drivers phone died. He then pulled over and asked a stranger to use their phone and called the the bus depot, they told the driver to come back to Topeka.
Brody was without a bathroom, drink, or food for the six hours he was on the bus.
“If he had to use the restroom, if he needed something to drink, how was he suppose to tell them?” Amanda questioned. “And so you know my heart broke for him because he cant tell them that.”
The Topeka School District said they have been in touch with the Durham bus company. That company is contracted by Topeka Public Schools and the bus company responsible for getting Brody to school.
They say what happened to Brody is unacceptable and changes have already been made.
“He really enjoys going to Kansas School for the Deaf, he loves everybody there and I don’t want to take that away from him,” Hunninghake said.
There was not a para-professional on the bus to care for Brody on Monday; that changed on Tuesday.
A meeting is set for Wednesday between the Hunninghake’s, the Kansas School for the Deaf, Topeka school district and Durham bus company. During the meeting they will go over what happened to Brody and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“I’m trying to be his voice because he doesn’t have one,” Hunninghake said.
Requirements to work for the Durham bus company are listed below and on the application page of indeed.com:
- Must be at least 21 years of age, and have 5 years personal driving experience.
- Must possess, or be able to obtain, all valid applicable state license and other required certifications to operate company vehicles.
- Must meet all local and state requirements.
- Must meet physical and medical requirements and pass substance abuse screening; as a safety-sensitive employee, will be subject to random substance abuse screening under Company policy.
- Must satisfactorily complete and pass all training and attend safety meetings and in-service meetings in order to remain qualified.
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
- Ability to lift and assist students when necessary.
- Must have a high degree of attention and considerable dexterity in the control of the school bus/van.
- Must practice defensive driving at all times and avoid vehicular and industrial accidents by practicing safe driving and work habits.
- Ability to maintain effective pupil behavior management over groups of children.