Special Needs Transportation

District responsible for damages in special-needs bus case

Posted on January 4, 2010

DENVER — Last month, the Colorado Supreme Court determined that the St. Vrain Valley School District is liable for the actions of a school bus driver who is accused of hitting a special-needs student during an incident that occurred in March 2005.

According to The Longmont Times-Call, bus driver Jeaneen Steward allegedly slapped or hit Devin Kansgen as she secured his wheelchair in the bus. In court filings, the school district said that Kansgen grabbed Steward’s breast and Steward defended herself.

Colorado law protects government agencies from lawsuits unless the plaintiff is injured “as a result of and pursuant to the operation of a motor vehicle.”

As SBF previously reported, the Kansgens’ attorney argued that because securing the wheelchair was integral to Steward’s job, her slapping him was part of her job. The school district’s attorneys disagreed, saying that operating the bus did not cause the altercation, and the district asked the state Supreme Court to review the case.

With the Supreme Court’s decision and the school district’s standing as a defendant established, the case will return to district court, The Longmont Times-Call reported.

Related Topics: legal issues

Comments ( 1 )
  • Usedtobe

     | about 7 years ago

    Then it would make sense that a school district that allows someone to operate a school bus who cannot pass a physical would be highly liable in an accident. How about a district that has had 3 buses totaled in the last 4 yrs? Where is the enforcement or the one who investigates these situations? Does no one look at the accident statistics?

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