Monday, October 09, 2006

Student Dragged by Bus

Boy, 6, dragged by school bus

I've seen shorter versions of this story repeated nationwide. The Buffalo News article linked above gives more information than most.

As a 6 year old got off the bus the doors of the bus closed on his backpack and the boy was dragged 60 feet down the side of the road. Students yelled for the driver to stop,

"But the driver, not discerning the children's shouts, only silenced them, the relatives said. Erie County Sheriff's deputies did not dispute that report."

Adults that had been waiting at the bus stop finally got the driver to stop. The boy's family rushed him to the hospital. When the driver realized what had happened, he collapsed and had to be taken to a doctor.

The child is expected to be released from the hospital in a few days.

" The family said the bus was operated by Quaker Taxi of Orchard Park, which the Seneca Nation of Indians hired to operate the six buses it purchased in 2005 to shuttle the nation's children to Lake Shore schools."

This never should have happened but as a school bus driver I understand how it could. The driver was either in a hurry or distracted; probably both. Reading between the lines it seems that the driver didn't have control of the kids to begin with, if he had their shouts would have gotten his attention. He broke the cardinal rule when dropping kids off; watch all kids until they are at least 15' away from the bus, know which way each went and if you loose track of anyone secure the bus and find them. Before moving the bus check all exterior mirrors carefully.

This bus was not operated by the school district and that confuses me. I am not familiar with the set up they have that the reservation owns their own buses. I don't know if the contractor the driver worked for was required to provide the same training as a school bus operator. In NY school bus drivers are required to take a 30 hour course when they start driving and attend two training sessions a year after that. Most school districts go way beyond the minimum requirements, holding several workshops every year.

I will be talking about this accident with my students in the morning. We will talk about The Danger Zone and about using our quiet voices. I will remind them that they can not talk to me at a stop unless it is a true emergency. I will also be talking with all of our new drivers.

1 comment:

  1. Good grief, what a story! I hope the little boy wasn't too badly hurt. If they were going to release him from the hospital in a few days, then I guess he must be OK.
    What a terrible experience for all concerned!