Many kids have to deal with difficult bus commutes to and from school, but one toddler’s ordeal might just take the cake. 3-year-old Levi Vidal, an autistic pre-schooler from Brooklyn, has been made to endure repeated trials that would be difficult even for fully-grown adults.
The Daily News reports that Levi’s first day of school concluded with a bus drive of five-hours, without any bathroom breaks, food or even water in the midst of one of the hottest summers on record. By the time he finally got out, “he was delirious, starving and in his full diaper,” said his mother, Serena Vidal.
It wasn’t a one-time occurrence, either. Though Levi’s mother picked him up at school the next day (the drive took only 40 minutes), the day after he took the bus again and sat through an only slightly-less-grueling three-hour commute. When he got off, Serena discovered that the bus matron had given Levi’s bag to another student by mistake.
Levi’s story isn’t unique. The coverage has exposed numerous similarly heartbreaking stories. Sofia Shapiro’s son Efraim, another special-needs child, has to sit through three-hour bus rides after school. The Daily News writes, “the boy, who does not wear diapers, urinated on himself twice on the way home the first day, and was dropped off wet and shivering.” Efraim’s mom made the same drive in 20 minutes.
PLUS: A Letter to My Special Needs Son’s School Principal
The situation for New York’s special needs school-goers is beginning to change, but unfortunately only after widespread coverage brought attention to the issue. Affected parents have formed a Facebook group to raise awareness and create a support network for one another.
Do you have a school bus horror story, or insight into the challenges faced by special-needs children? Let us know in the comments.