2C58041300000578-3235379-image-a-4_1442327062760   HUN JOON LEE AN ADORABLE LITTLE BOY AND SO LOVED BY HIS PARENTS AND ALL WHO KNEW HIM!

HE IS GONE . . . . .

Hun Joon Lee, 19, a Whittier School District Special Needs Student was found dead on the school bus, last Friday,  at the close  of the triple digit temperature school day.

While his parents report he was picked up in front of their home at 8:30 that morning, the same as every morning, their 300 pound Autistic son never made it to class that day.

News reports say it isn’t clear whether the contracted bus company is required to do a head count ,reasonable procedure, commonsense and a commitment to duty would make a driver in charge of children, take on the responsibility of knowing all the cargo was delivered.

News reports say the driver only picked up 3 students that morning. Didn’t the driver know how to count those few numbers when reaching the destination?

In speaking with a teacher who works at a special needs school in another district and who is often assigned to “bus ramp” duty, she told me when the kids disembark, she asks the driver to check the bus by walking to the back – what’s called a reasonable procedure.

When special needs students, at her school, are missing in class in the mornings, teachers check with other students in the classroom as to whether that student was on the bus.

What a tragedy Lee’s death is and that it most certainly could have been prevented had the driver, and it doesn’t matter that he was a sub for the day, performed due diligence – walked to the back of the bus!

For 19 years the Lee family has carefully watched over their  Autistic Special Needs child and that is not an easy assignment for any parent.

For 19 years, they have struggled to provide him with the best in education, medical services and family love.

But his life has now been snuffed out in a school bus oven and the question being asked, “Is the bus company required to do a head count?”

Hun Joon Lee died a miserable death; the details of which we really don’t need to know – such as how long he was on the floor where they found his lifeless body nor do we really need any other  of the gruesome facts.

Hun Joon Lee is gone and his parents, suffering from their loss, have hearts that are crumbling with grief.

A Gofundme site has been set up, please join me and the many others who are so touched and troubled by this story by making a contribution to help with the family’s  expenses and to let them know how many of us care:

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Jean Troy

    I’m so tired of schools not taking responsibility for their children especially special needs children. Why did n’t the school call the parents when the child was not in his first class that morning. I know my children were not special needs yet if they were not in first period I got a call at my office wondering where they were. I was so disgusted with the lack of responsibility that the school administrators seem to now have regarding the care and health of our children. My heart is with that Mother who did all she could to love her child and care for him

    1. Shirlee Smith

      Jean, you are so right in telling it like “it used to be.” I’m brought to think, most of today’s parents don’t know the services, the common sense care, they and their children should be getting. MAYBE this tragedy will take school administrators back to “caring.”

      1. Jean Troy

        The two words Common Sense for some reason in this electronic age has gone away. We have become non thinkers, we do everything by a number we use a computer and not our hearts.

    1. Shirlee Smith


      Thanks for posting your comment and I can tell you, having lost TWO of my six children – it is a hurt that never goes away. And for this family, the circumstances make the grief so much more devastating!

  2. Florence

    What a tragedy!
    Another person to blame is the school principal and I’ll tell you why.

    I believe it is the principal’s job to call the families of ANY ABSENT child on every school day. Parents assume that since their children left home for school or were put on a bus, they arrived at school. Families should be notified ASAP if a child is not in class and then the appropriate action can be taken.

    A call from the principal lets families know their children are valued and that the school is concerned for the child’s welfare. If a child is not in school, where is s/he? Such a call might have saved this young man.

    I worked with only one principal who made the calls each morning after attendance was taken. We teachers sent in a list of all absentees. That was not very difficult and today all attendance is on-line so it’s even easier to get the info.

    I suggested this procedure to all the other principals who rotated through my school, but NO ONE would do it.

  3. Laura Monteros

    Well, the principal doesn’t have to make the calls. I used to work in a school office and it was the clerks who made the calls. Doesn’t matter who makes it, they should be made, but on occasion it was just to busy to call 50 homes, and often there was no answer and no way to leave a message. I believe many school districts just use automated calls now, but those come at the end of the day.

    In PUSD, I believe the drivers are REQUIRED to check the bus to make sure everyone is off. It’s not like this was a tiny kid hiding under the seat, anyway–he could have been spotted in the rearview mirror. I wonder if it is a state law, I imagine it is.

  4. Bill Allen, Jr.

    Dear Shirlee,

    When I heard about this story, my heart literally broke in half! After having taught for almost 30 years, I have seen the best of educators/administrators and auxiliary staff–those who REALLY CARED. I have also seen the absolute worst of educators/administrators/security police and bus drivers too. What a shame that a life had to be loss…so senselessly and so irresponsibly. Unfortunately, most school districts are ONLY concerned about three things– 1) The money received for the A.D.A (average daily attendance), 2) “Glowing” National Test Scores (achieved at ANY costs), (remember the Atlanta, Georgia teachers convicted for cheating / or “manipulating” the test scores of their students) and 3) Presenting a “sterling PR” image to the communities and to the world-at-large (regardless of the REAL underlying challenges or problems that plague various schools or students). Unfortunately, CARING does NOT really seem to be on the “curriculum” anymore.

    1. Shirlee Smith

      We hear so much talk about selfish kids these day but don’t seem to tie the behavior we see in the younger group to that which has been modeled by the adults – the role models. Lack of caring is a selfish act. And the “CARING” that you talk about being lost in the schools and in the classrooms is the same loss we witness on a daily basis in the broader society.

  5. Bill Allen, Jr.

    Dear Shirlee,

    How very, very true. Many adults are doing a very poor job in providing role-model types for children to look up to and to emulate. This LACK of CARING and inequities of conducting
    business, running businesses/institutions/educational systems/political systems and the world-at-large has unfortunately permeated almost our entire existence. With blogs like yours; and endeavoring to expand the consciousness of people—-perhaps the world will inch to a better change. Thanks again, for all that you (and your readers/contributors)do!

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