Hun Joon Lee, Hun Joon Lee. They called him Paul at school. He was a boy, a man, a person. He was 19 years old, his parents were preparing to celebrate his 20th birthday and after the Whittier School District failed to do their job they are planning a funeral for their child. Hun Joon Lee was a wonderful 19 year old boy, who had autism, and was non-verbal. Much like my child Franklin. He can not speak up for himself, and did not have the cognition you get himself out of a situation.
You see what happened that day was the bus driver picked up 3 students and only 2 got on the bus. Paul was left on the bus, LEFT ON THE BUS, on the hottest day of the Southern California Summer 105 degrees. He couldn't yell for help, the driver didn't check the bus, the teachers and the aide never let the family know that Paul didn't show up that day. The bus pulled into school for morning drop off, and then went to the bus yard and Paul was sitting in a small 8 -10 passenger bus, and he died.
He died, someones child died, because a long line of people that are supposed to take responsibility for his care didn't step up and do their jobs. The driver, the aides, the teacher, they all failed to do their job, and this poor vulnerable man was left to swelter on a hot bus all day and suffer while in fear and pain.
I have been using bus service for 5 years, and have had my share of difficulties. I have felt shamed by some friends and families for choosing the bus, made to feel inferior because the bus works for us, with 2 special needs kids at 2 schools it is a necessary evil. But that is a story for another time, we should all support each other as special needs parents.
The most vulnerable, the citizens that rely the most on US, us as a whole to care for them. They are not LESS because they have impairments that don't make them "normal". They are not LESS because they can't speak up for themselves. They are not LESS because they require special accommodations to get them to and from places. They are not LESS, they are people. We need to treat them as PEOPLE, GOOD DECENT PEOPLE. What has happened to us?
This district and the bus company and the police have given the Lee Family no answers, none as to how they failed their child. How they let him die on a bus. Why is that acceptable? IF this was a neurotypical child that was left on a bus after a field trip to basically cook to death, would people accept NO ANSWERS 5 days later?
My child is this boy, who uses the bus, and can't get out of the restraint system, and I can not get a hold of my emotions where this is involved. This boy requires people to do their jobs. My child and many others require many people during the day to DO THEIR JOBS PERFECTLY. Human and mistakes is not acceptable where a life is involved. We are now forced to listen to Union Yahoos, defend the driver, and their failed systems, we are forced to have a school district disrespect the life and family of Paul Lee because we have now become and allowed public servants to fall to a disgustingly low standard of work.
I will not allow this kind of disrespect and lack of decency exist where our special needs kids OR your typical children are concerned. Head should be rolling down the street and fired, arrests should be made, and this kind of thing happens TOO MUCH. This is not the first time, and sadly it won't be the last we have allowed mediocrity and complacency weave it's way into our education system, and the ones who pay the price our always our kids. If we won't stand up for our kids and REQUIRE adults and caretakers to do their jobs EVERY SINGLE DAY, and get rid of Unions where our kids are involved and put cameras in the classrooms and on the buses so that when these people who are supposed to be caring for our kids fail, we have some back up. Parents should be planning birthday parties, not funerals. The special needs community needs all of you to step up and speak up where our kids can not. This is so wrong, and my heart is broken. I can't see our kids failed anymore.