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December 30, 2010  |   Comments (4)   |   Post a comment

Special-needs student falls from moving bus, dies


TIMONIUM, Md. — Six-year-old Jeremy Jennings Jr. was declared legally dead earlier this month from traumatic brain injuries he sustained when he fell from his moving school bus. (After two days of no brain activity, family members decided to take him off of life support.)

Jennings suffered from emotional problems and attended a special-education school. On the day of the incident, the bus was traveling from the school when Jennings got out of his seat and began an altercation with another student, The Baltimore Sun reports.

Lt. Rob McCullough, spokesman for Baltimore County police, told the newspaper that one of the two aides on the bus broke up the altercation, and Jennings tried unsuccessfully to leave from the bus' front door. He then ran to the back of the bus, opened the rear door and fell onto the road.

Family members reportedly want an explanation as to why Jennings wasn’t in the harness that his state-mandated education plan required him to have. 

The school bus driver and two aides who were on the bus at the time of the incident worked for M R Hopkins Transportation Services Inc. They have since been dismissed. A spokeswoman for Baltimore City Schools told The Baltimore Sun that the bus driver's license was disqualified, and the two aides had their certifications suspended pending an investigation.

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oh my goodness this is a heart breaker

ayee    |    Feb 25, 2011 09:20 AM

One other aspect that I want to present is that classroom training and policy is not enough. Methods must be available for the bus driver and aides to in some form practice their training. Slowing and pulling off when a child stands (for example) and reporting the event over the radio helps provide that practice and helps also alert children to the seriousness of their conduct. Without such routines the tendency is to hesitate when something very serious is happening and when there may be no time to cover that hesitation. Demand all you want that drivers be ready for the sudden, but without routines evolved from lessor events providing practice, to then expect perfect outcomes is abusive and dangerous on that bus, in my opinion.

jkraemer    |    Jan 03, 2011 11:30 PM

There may be more to this event than reported at this time. In any case I can see that any child running to the front of the bus then to the back can slip by adults paranoid about touching kids. Voice commands can be useless and regardless of mainstream or SPEC-ED conditions. I find it very appropriate to reel in an out-of-control child and curious about every reasoning in previous training and actions leading up to this event. Suspect it more complicated than presented in the story. Can not count the times over the years having to physically block or otherwise direct a child or grab one about to fall, and yes, an occasional complaint about touching. I keep stories like this one handy to hold at bay the jerks and filthy minded that can find some sort of inappropriateness in whatever the bus driver does and regardless of the driver's reasoning. Where seconds count a decision must be made in the moment. The alert bus driver hitting the brakes and causing the offending child to fall forward may have resulted in an injury but not likely the death of the child or others in this story. There may be no time to slow and pull off to a stop. No doubt the bus driver applying this remedy (hitting the brakes) would have also brought a complaint and potential termination. It helps to know how to respond in the moment and before an out-of-control child acts out or an obnoxious adult that later comes out from under a rock. Myself would always prefer to risk termination for touching a child over that of terminated over a child's death which may have been intervened in by reaching out and touching a kid to prevent a possible injury or worse. Make no mistake in this, there are the sorts that will seek self-attention or other profit from the bus driver's efforts to keep kids safe. Very simple, keep kids safe and deal with the liars and otherwise obnoxious later.

jkraemer    |    Jan 03, 2011 11:19 PM

As my districts Safety Cordinator, I must agree with the parents. Why was the student not in the harness that is mandated in his IEP for special needs. Why did the driver not stop the bus when the first incident was happening. With challenged student you need to try and always be two steps ahead of them. ANd if this was a regular student on there route they should have been prepared.

Hollie    |    Jan 03, 2011 10:54 AM

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