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DANSVILLE, N.Y. — An 8-year-old girl was dragged about 900 feet when her backpack got caught in a closing school bus door on Wednesday, according to state police.
The girl suffered abrasions and was taken to a local hospital.
Another passenger, an 8-year-old boy, was reportedly standing when the bus came to a halt after students yelled at the driver to stop. The boy struck the seat in front of him and sustained eye abrasions.
Police said the driver would not be charged.
After the incident, Dansville Central Schools Superintendent Paul Alioto said that the district had begun an investigation and that the driver was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. He noted that the driver has an eight-year record of safe driving with the district.
“While driver error is clearly suspect as the chief cause of the accident, we will also examine the possibility of equipment failure, review procedural safeguards and our safety training regimen,” Alioto said.
The girl and the children who witnessed the incident were to receive special attention from their teachers and from counselors on the following day.
“I’m proud of how our people came together around this crisis, but I join members of our school community in their deep concern over how something like this could have ever happened,” Alioto said. “We are very fortunate and very thankful that this brave little girl walked away from the accident.”
The superintendent also emphasized that school buses are the safety form of transportation for getting children to and from school, citing the American School Bus Council, the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
On Monday, the school district began a safety audit that is to continue throughout the week, examining transportation safety procedures, driver handbooks, training protocols and policies. Findings of the audit will be presented to the public in February.
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