“This is trying to explain the inexplicable”, Manuel Pereira, director of the General Serpa Pinto School Group, told Lusa agency.
On Monday, “one of the children traveling on the bus was forgotten, in one of the first rows of the bus and neither of the two employees accompanying the children saw it, nor the driver”.
Manuel Pereira explained that the bus transports, daily, “a little more than 20 children of all levels of education who live in the parishes of Nespereira and Fornelos and who attend the Nespereira school group”.
“It was more than six hours that the girl was forgotten, possibly she was sleeping and hence the silence. No one noticed and the girl stayed on the bus, which is always parked about 100 metres from the school” he said.
At 3:30 pm, when “the mother went to pick her up from the kindergarten, the teacher told her that the girl had not gone that day and the mother, in a state of shock, called her husband, because he had been the one to drop her off at the bus”.
"In the middle of this whole process, looking for the child, they went to see the bus and she was there, still sitting, with her seat belt on, relatively calm, but it's one of those things that doesn't cross anyone's mind", reacted the director .
Manuel Pereira explained to the Lusa that he opened “immediately an urgent investigation process”.
“In conjunction with the Câmara de Cinfães, which contracted the service of two security guards, we ordered the suspension of the two ladies who carried out the surveillance, while the process takes place”, he added.
This official also said that “two psychologists are monitoring the child and her family on a daily basis, who have been very collaborative” and, according to information, “the girl is fine, she is going to kindergarten and, according to the psychologists, she should not suffer any further consequences of due to the incident”.
The director of the group also added that he has “the responsibility to provide security to parents”, especially students who “take buses to schools” to “ensure that these situations do not happen again”.
After talking with the coordinators of the school establishments and with the kindergarten teachers, “one thing that should already be done was defined, which is the obligation of the educators to call the parents, in case the children are absent”.
“They have the contact details of all the parents and, if there is no prior communication from the family that the child is going to be absent, they have the obligation to call to find out what happened to make the child miss school. If this practice existed, this would not have happened”, he defended.