Student Left Behind On School Bus

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, April 29 2013 at 3:22 PM, Updated: Mon, April 29 2013 at 4:35 PM

A Klamath Falls woman is outraged that her 11 year old son with autism was left along in a county school bus for over 7 hours.

Orrin Palmer wasn't let off at Stearns School last Tuesday morning...And wound up spending over 7 hours alone in a school bus.

"I was outraged."  Says Tera Kinnan, Orrin's mother.  "I was crying, first of all, and then I was just mad.  You know, how could this happen?"

Klamath County Schools Superintendent Greg Thede wants to know how it could have happened, too...

"My initial reaction was shock, that this could happen."

Orrin Palmer has a mild to moderate form of autism.  His Mom says Orrin was upset by the ordeal...

"He said he was hungry, that he had to use the bathroom, the door was locked.  I imagine it was a pretty hard thing for him."

Tera Kinnan says she doesn't intend to take any legal action at this time...

"No, I'm not - I'm just hoping to raise awareness about this, so hopefully, things can change.  So that this doesn't happen again, doesn't happen to any other children."

The Superintendent says he wants to know why the school didn't notice Orrin was missing, and why the bus wasn't checked before it was parked at the bus barn.

"I offer no excuses."  Says Superintendent Thede.  "This should not have happened, and again, will not happen again."

But for now, Orrin says he doesn't want to ride the school bus anymore...So his Mom is driving him to school for the near future.

While Orrin was upset after being left alone on the bus, he was okay and didn't require any medical treatment.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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