Special Needs Student Found Dead May Have Been Inside School Bus All Day
The body of a special needs student was found inside a school bus and authorities are investigating whether or not he was inside the bus all day.
The body of 19-year old Hun-Joon Lee was found inside a school bus parked in the Whittier Union High School District lot around 4:20 p.m., Friday afternoon. Lee's parents notified the school district after he failed to come home at 4 p.m. as expected. When a bus driver discovered his body, CPR was performed but he was declared dead at the scene.
According to KCAL 9 Whittier police are investigating the death but believe it may have just been an accident. KTLA report they are looking into the possibility that he may have never gotten off the bus.
Lee was a student at the Sierra Educational Center's Transition Program, an adult school in the school district.
According to NBC Los Angeles, Pupil Transportation, the private company that operates the school buses for the district, did not say whether or not drivers were required to do a "head count" for special needs students. The 36-year old driver was questioned by police but later released. Police did not comment on the possibility of charges that could later be filed.
"It's a very tragic accident," said Brad White of the Whittier Police Department, "for all involved, especially the family."
Whittier School District superintendent Sandy Thorstenson released the following statement on Friday evening:
This tragedy has devastated all of us. We are still gathering information about what happened. The District is calling for a speedy and thorough investigation to determine how something like this could happen. Our hearts are with our student's parents and family — we're all grieving. We're making ourselves, our counseling services and our staff available to his family and to our students and staff who were close to him.