ABU DHABI // A three-year-old Abu Dhabi kindergarten pupil died on Tuesday after being locked in a bus in stifling heat.
Police are investigating the death of Nizaha Aalaa, a KG-1 pupil and in her first month at Al Worood Academy Private School.
School officials are still waiting for clarification from the investigation on what happened to the Indian girl, who was found at about midday, said Roderick Williams, principal of the school.
The buses are operated by a third-party provider and several checks are supposed to take place to ensure the safety of the students, he said.
Two adults on the buses – the driver and a helper – are supposed to check to make sure the students get on and off the bus safely, said Mr Williams. The driver should also make a final check and clean the vehicle before locking it.
“This was supposed to happen, but it didn’t happen that way today,” he said.
“It is a tragedy and the entire school staff and community are in mourning today.”
The school typically has many absences during this time because of the Eid Al Adha holiday, said Mr Williams.
“We have more than 2,000 students in our school, and today more than a thousand students were absent,” he said.
In a statement released late Tuesday, Hamad Al Dhahiri, executive director of private schools at Abu Dhabi Education Council, expressed his deepest condolences and said support was being provided for the child’s family.
“We sympathise with the student’s family and we will take necessary administrative measures should any act of negligence be proven.”
He added that Adec will provide necessary support to Abu Dhabi Police to uncover the circumstances surrounding the incident Police teams immediately began their investigations to find out the circumstances behind the child’s death. The outcome of the investigation will be announced at a later time, said Mr Al Dhahiri.
One parent, who asked not to be named because he has children who attend the school, said that he found out about the incident after his wife went to pick up their children.
He said he felt concerned after hearing about the girl’s death.
“What I would be concerned about is, the driver himself should have checked to make sure all of the kids are out of the bus. It’s a very simple procedure,” the parent said.
“It doesn’t take more than three or four minutes extra. Maybe one of the kids forgot their bag or lunch box.”
He said his family does not trust buses and so they drop off and pick up their children themselves.