SALT LAKE CITY — An incident in which a Granite School District special-needs student fell from a moving bus onto a freeway could have been avoided if the driver and aide on board had followed the district's policies, according to district officials.
Officials arrived at this conclusion after wrapping up an investigation of the accident, which occurred on June 20. As SBF reported last month, the student sustained no broken bones but had several lacerations.
In this latest development, The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the 15-year-old boy opened the bus’ rear emergency exit door and jumped out because he was apparently confused by the route and was trying to get home.
Granite spokesman Ben Horsley told the newspaper that the driver and aide on the bus were “negligent in their responsibilities.” Initially, both employees did not hear an alarm that was triggered when the door opened, and between 60 and 90 seconds passed between the time the boy jumped off the bus and the driver pulled over.
Per district policy, bus drivers are required to look in their rearview mirrors every 8 seconds to check on students, and aides are supposed to sit where they can easily assist and monitor every student on the bus. Usually, the aide sits in the middle, but on this bus the aide was sitting at the front.
"The location of the aide on the bus was highly inappropriate," Horsley told The Salt Lake Tribune. "A number of policies were violated. It does appear, if they had been followed, this incident could have been avoided completely."
Both the aide and the driver have chosen to retire as opposed to facing disciplinary action by the district.
In August, as part of their annual training, Granite School District drivers and aides will discuss the incident and how it could have been avoided, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.