KIMT News 3 – The tragedy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has left parents and school staff wondering how to keep their kids safe on the bus.
Bus driver Johnthoney Walker crashed a school bus, killing five students on board.
Charles City’s superintendent says when parents send their kids off to school on a bus, they should trust that they are protected.
“Buses are one of the safest methods of transporting. We got tall seats padded to keep kids safe. Bright yellow lights on for climate weather, it really is a safe way to get kids to and from school,” Dr. Dan Cox said.
Cox says their turnover rate for bus drivers in Charles City is low. Those driving have done so for years and they’re held to high standards.
“As part of the process, we do drug and alcohol testing as part of the pre-employment exam. There’s also random testing that’s done throughout their employment, certainly reference checks and then ongoing training for bus drivers,” Dr. Cox said.
Say you can’t get yourself to trust the bus driver. That’s where technology might help.
“Technology itself won’t keep the kids safe but it will at least provide the parent a peace of mind of being able to know where their child is at, what’s going on, but it will give you a better idea what’s happening around them,” Adam Frederick said.
Frederick, a technology expert, suggests downloading an app to see where your child’s bus is — or purchase a GPS tracker.
“Parents have the advantage of being able to have GPS technology, being able to track them anywhere off of their smartphone if they’re old enough. Kids younger even, get them little watches, smart watches,” Frederick said.
While Frederick won’t deny technology has come a long way, he’d agree with Dr. Cox that having a conversation with your bus driver is a good first step.
“To have a relationship with them, just like we want them to have a relationship with child’s teacher, coaches, support staff that work at school,” Dr. Cox said.
Dr. Cox suggests if you have a concern in regards to your bus driver to call the transportation director first.