The Lafayette Parish School System is implementing new policies for its bus drivers after a 10-year-old girl was left on a bus Monday afternoon.

Transportation director Damon Evans says drivers will now be required to sweep the bus for students after each school stop before starting a new route, essentially doubling the walk-through process.

“We changed policy to try and fit what we’re doing wrong and what we can correct,” Evans said.

A neighbor saw the left-behind student walking in a parking lot near her home and called the child's parents. The bus driver involved in the incident had stopped at a store to run a personal errand, which Evans says is against policy.

We changed policy to try and fit what we’re doing wrong and what we can correct.

“In this particular instance, she had to pick up some medication,” Evans said. “She was in the store for about 15 minutes."

When the driver exited the store, she was confronted by the child's parent, who had driven to meet the student after the neighbor's phone call. The girl said she fell asleep on the bus and missed her stop, but Evans said his department's investigation revealed she was awake moments before her stop.

“There were some kids that were talking to her on the bus that literally live two blocks down the street,” Evans said. "Somehow between two blocks away from her house, she either fell asleep or missed her stop."

The driver, who is a substitute and claims she did check the bus for left-behind students, has been suspended for 20 days.

“It was just an unfortunate event," Evans said.