Team 10 is asking questions about the San Diego Unified School District's bus policy after a 4-year-old preschooler was left unattended on a school bus in the bus yard.
Zia Estrada takes special needs classes at Kumeyaay Elementary School. Her father said he trusted the district to take care of his autistic daughter.
His wife brought Zia to the bus around 6:55 a.m. last Thursday morning. She was supposed to be at school by 7:40 a.m.
Fernando Estrada says police called his wife around 11 a.m. and said Zia was not at school, but instead at the bus yard.
There are still unanswered questions about the bus route and how long Zia was riding around with other students.
A district spokesperson said about 12,000 students ride the bus every day in the district. In a news release, the district said the 4-year-old was alone for under 30 minutes.
The little girl did not realize the mistake that was made when she finally saw her parents.
"Daddy, you came, you came for me!" Fernando Estrada said his daughter told him. "I knew you were going to come for me... it just kind of hit me hard at that moment, like I abandoned her."
The district website said each driver must "attend regularly scheduled safety meetings" and "attend additional training sessions to maintain the skills needed to safely transport students."
"If you can't do your job, then you should be fired. That's a very important job," Fernando Estrada told 10News Thursday night.
Team 10 contacted the district and searched their website regarding specific policies for unloading a school bus. We did not find a clear policy with the district, but on the California DMV website, the DMV recommends each driver "conduct a post-trip inspection of the bus."
The recommendation said "you should walk through the bus and around the bus" to search for among other things, students.
The family is filing a liability lawsuit for this experience they say should have never happened.
A district spokesman would not say what happened to the bus driver, although the family told 10News the bus driver is on leave.
A statement released by the district stated:
"On Thursday, San Diego Unified unfortunately had a student left unattended for less than 30 minutes in a bus parked at its central bus facility. The district takes student safety very seriously and is investigating the matter. As it may involve employee discipline, we cannot comment any further."