Spring daycare center leaves child alone on a bus, driver quits as state officials investigate

A family in Spring has pulled their children from a daycare program after state officials told them their 5-year-old was left on a bus for nearly an hour.

Jerry Murphy says on August 22, his son woke up inside the empty school bus. It was parked towards the front of the Kroger parking lot on the 18000 block of Kuykendahl Road. 

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The school, Greengate Academy, is located in the same plaza, about a two-minute walk from the buses.

"He said he was very sweaty, and he wanted to get out," Murphy says. "He went to open the front door of the bus, and he can't open it because it doesn't open from the inside. He tried the back door, and it didn't open either."

The child was smart enough to open the latched windows. His dad tells FOX 26, he remembered watching older kids opening it. 

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As he climbed out, he injured his head on the way to the ground. His parents say he was later sent to the hospital for a concussion.

Alyssa Douglas was driving to Kroger and looking for a parking spot when she spotted the boy walking alone.  

"My initial reaction was, is anyone else see this?" says Douglas. "This boy is just walking by himself and the parking lot is packed. So I don't understand how no one is seeing him walking."


Douglas tells FOX 26 she was surprised the little boy knew his mother's phone number when she asked him. 

His mom was on her way to pick the child up when Douglas called, and immediately contacted the school about her son.

"They didn't even know that he was missing," says Murphy. "It's oblivious to me that they didn't know my son was missing at all."

Murphy also tells us on Monday, the school's director, Denise Statlander, told him the driver of the bus would be switched to supervising the kids inside the facility and no longer on bus duty. 

On Thursday evening, Statlander told us in a brief phone call the driver quit their job. The family says they have hired a lawyer, and plan on taking legal action against the school.


Greengate Academy is one of the four schools under the Sam Houston State University Charter School system. FOX 26 sent requests for comment to the Superintendent's office and waiting for a response as of Thursday evening.

The Department of Family and Protective Services confirms this incident is part of an active investigation. 

We're told investigators from CPS were seen Thursday at Greengate and at Kroger - which has surveillance footage of some of the incident. 

State officials told Murphy video shows his son was inside the bus for at least 45 minutes.

Their rules state all children need to be accounted for before leaving the vehicle unattended. The penalty price can vary, but neglecting a child in any way can come with a flat rate of $1,000.