Child with autism left on school bus alone for 6 hours

BEAVER COUNTY, Pennsylvania (KTRK) -- A mom is demanding answers after she says her son with autism was left alone on a bus for six hours.

Payton Riegle, 16, has autism and limited verbal skills.

His mother Teresa Salvatore says he is also shy and likely felt concerned and confused when he sat alone on a school bus for six hours.

"It's horrible. I can't imagine what he was thinking. Was he abandoned? 'Where's mom and dad? Hey, Mom, I'm hungry. I'm thirsty, with a soiled diaper,'" said Salvatore. "He's not completely potty trained."

She said neither the bus driver nor the aide that discovered Riegle told her about the incident.

Salvatore said she had no idea that her son wasn't in class until officials from his school called.

The superintendent of the New Bright School District says they are working with the bus contractor to determine what exactly happened.

"We were deeply troubled to learn that a student was missed after a safety walk-through was conducted by our aide. We are conducting an internal review of how this occurred. Everyone involved has been suspended without pay," a statement from the charter bus said.

"It's awful. Just awful. Heartsick," Salvatore said.

She says she will not send her son back to school until she sees the bus video of his hours alone.

"This could have ended very bad," Salvatore said.
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