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July 08, 2011  |   Comments (9)   |   Post a comment

Special-needs student survives fall from bus on freeway


SALT LAKE CITY — Granite School District officials said that a special-needs student was in "miraculous condition" despite his fall from a school bus onto an interstate highway last month.

District spokesman Ben Horsley told The Salt Lake Tribune that the boy was reported to have no broken bones, but had several lacerations after falling out of the bus' rear emergency exit.

The boy was being transported home following the first day of a four-week summer program at a school for medically fragile and severely disabled students when the accident occurred. The sound of the freeway and noise from the windows may have prevented the driver from hearing the alarm that sounded when the back door was opened, according to Horsley.

The attendant on the bus heard the alarm and looked at the door, but it appeared that the door was closed. Reports from a district investigation said a turn on the freeway may have swung the door into a position where it appeared to be closed.

When the attendant walked back to check on the student, she could see that the door was slightly open and the student was not on the bus. 

The bus driver pulled over to the side of the road around a mile to a mile and a half from where the student had fallen and contacted district and emergency officials. Horsley told The Salt Lake Tribune that between 60 to 90 seconds passed from the time the student fell to the time the bus pulled over.

Horsley added that it was not known if the boy had opened the back door himself.

In accordance with district policy, the driver and bus attendant were put on leave pending the completion of the investigation, and the driver was tested for drugs.

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You are right of course Tammy, but ultimately the driver is responsible whether there are extenuating circumstances or not. The driver's view may have been blocked, the attendant may have been busy with other students, however, the way the public looks at our responsiblity and how we exercise best practices is the true test here. Sensationalized certainly, not have all the facts of course, in the end, however it will come down to whether the bus driver really had done everything in their power to protect the students. If the child was a known risk for flight why was he allowed so close to the emergency door? If this was an aberration of behavior on the students' part no one could be held responsible, yet someone will in the end be held responsible. Good points all, I agree with Tammy we do need all the facts as well, but we all jump because we can see ourselves in this prediciment and hope we would act differently and have a better outcome.

Linda    |    Jul 14, 2011 09:04 AM

Two adults on the bus and no one saw a student get up open the door and fall out of the bus? Even if there are seats all the way to the emergency door why wasn't the attendant closer to the students? I thought that was what the attendant was for, monitoring the students so the driver could pay more attention to driving. I agree with others, the emergency door buzzers are very loud, unless they have been tampered with or the driver failed to check if the buzzer even worked while doing the 'required' bus inspection before leaving on their route? This is not acceptable.

Linda    |    Jul 14, 2011 08:52 AM

It's very sad that a child got hurt, but it's interesting that everyone here is so ready to crucify the driver and attendant without being sure all the facts are straight. Is it possible that the child stood up, opened the door and steped out in the blink of an eye? Is it possible the attendant was working with another child at the time? Is it possible she was standing in the aisle while she did this and so was blocking the view of the driver to the back? Is it possible that the article was written in a way that sensationalizes what happened, because it makes a better story? Is it possible you only have SOME of the facts? I wasn't there and don't know anything more about the situation than this story shares, but I know that everything isn't always the way the media portrays it.

Tammy    |    Jul 14, 2011 08:48 AM

1. Why wasn't the attendant in the back of the bus, supervising the children? 2. Why didn't the driver notice the motion in the back of the bus, or hear the buzzer? 3. IF the attendant was in the back, what were they doing that they didn't notice this child get up from their see and open the door? 4. Just because you have an attendant on the bus, does NOT give you license to be a road zombie. You should STILL use your student mirror as you would for regular ed. students to monitor them.

Amy    |    Jul 12, 2011 04:14 PM

This boy was very lucky to not have gotten hurt worse. It is amazing he was not hit by another vehicle when he fell. I am a bus driver myself and those alarms are very loud and hard NOT to hear. Attendants should be in the middle or rear of bus so they can watch all the kids on the bus and know what is going on. It is a shame it happened at all.

Jennifer    |    Jul 12, 2011 10:43 AM

Why wasn't the attendant in the back?Not hear the buzzer?They are very loud.

Debbie    |    Jul 12, 2011 09:00 AM

Why wasn't the attendant in the back?

Debbie    |    Jul 12, 2011 08:59 AM

These two should be fired! I am a school bus driver of 12 years & I CANNOT IMAGINE not being able to hear the sound that the emergency door makes when it is open!

Lorri Ritter    |    Jul 11, 2011 06:43 PM

Why wasn't the attendant sitting in the back of the bus? In order to see all children you see behind them & not in front of them. This could have been avoided. The driver should have made sure that the attendant was in the back of the bus. It's both of their fault.

della    |    Jul 11, 2011 05:28 PM

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