Courtesy of:  Rusty Ray @ WBTW.com

CONWAY (WBTW) - No one was hurt when a school bus caught fire Monday morning.

It happened shortly after 7:00 a.m. on University Forest Circle.

CLICK HERE for a list of still pictures of the damaged bus!

According to officers on scene, everyone got off of the bus safely.  No word on what started the fire.

Count on News13 to update you on this story as we learn more.


Article and Pictures Online:  http://www.wbtw.com/story/22484235/school-bus-catches-fire-near-conway
 
 
Courtesy of:  KMJNOW.com

A student was struck this morning by a bus as she was trying to walk across the cross walk. 

It happened around 7:30 this morning when a Bullard High School student was trying to get to school. 

Fresno Police Officer Joe Sacca said the bus was heading eastbound on Browning and was making a left turn on Palm. 

"We do believe from some independent witnesses that the student was in the right of way."

Sacca said the bus driver had just dropped off students at the high school.

"We're still talking with the driver of the bus to try to find out exactly what occurred."

Police said the female student sustained minor injuries to the face and hands and was transported to a hospital.


Article Online:  http://www.kmjnow.com/pages/landing?School-Bus-Hits-Student=1&blockID=691391&feedID=806


 
 
 
 


Durham School Bus Workers Speak Out About Safety, Wage Theft Concerns
 
ROSEDALE, Md., May 23, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 
School bus drivers and attendants with Durham School Services who transport students attending Baltimore City Public Schools
joined with Teamsters, political and other community leaders at a rally today to demand respect and safe working conditions.
 
Durham workers spoke out about workplace safety and service issues that may impact the safe transportation of area schoolchildren.

"I have reported mold problems on our bus for years and the problem is not fixed. I'm scared for the kids on the bus," said Stephanie Urosa, a six-year attendant on a bus for children with special needs. "Some of the children we transport have weakened immune systems and allergies and they don't need to be exposed to this. Mold is just one of a number of safety concerns we have."

In addition to mold, drivers and attendants spoke about fuel leaks, electrical problems, problems with the air brakes and a recent fire on a school bus. 

"Safety is paramount. Durham has ignored the workers' concerns about the unsafe conditions of the buses. Making matters worse, workers aren't getting a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. These workers deserve a strong union so their voices can be heard and our kids can be kept safe," said Sean Cedenio, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 570 in Baltimore.

"I support the bus drivers and attendants' fundamental right to collectively bargain. In light of the troubling reports about unsafe school buses and serious wage and hour issues, the workers here have a very important voice that should be heard," said J. Ronald DeJuliis, Maryland Commissioner of Labor and Industry.
 
More than 85 Durham drivers and attendants have signed on to a class-action lawsuit claiming wage theft by the contractor. In the lawsuit filed March 12 with the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the plaintiffs bring claims to recover wages owed by the company.

"This company has been taking the money we earn. I'm not paid for all of the hours I work and my paycheck hasn't been correct for the last year. We got so tired of reporting these pay issues without the company resolving the problem that the drivers and attendants had no choice but to file a class-action lawsuit to get the pay that we have worked hard for and earned," said Mildred Israel, a Durham driver in Rosedale.

In 2012 Durham workers filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over surveillance by the company as the workers began to organize to form a union with Local 570. The NLRB found in favor of the workers and issued Durham with a 60-day probation order in March 2013.

While under probation, Durham continued to violate labor laws and the workers were forced to file another unfair labor practice charge on May 1 against the company over illegal surveillance.

About 150 drivers and attendants work for Durham in Rosedale. Durham is the second-largest school bus company in the United States and a subsidiary of National Express Group PLC, a United Kingdom-based multinational transportation company.

Drive Up Standards is a national campaign to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry. Since the campaign began in 2006, more than 35,700 drivers, monitors, aides, attendants and mechanics have become Teamsters
 

Read more here:
http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/05/23/4887622/durham-school-bus-workers-speak.html#storylink=cpy
 
 
Courtesy of The Associated Press:

NORTH WEBSTER, Ind. –  A school bus slammed into the back of another bus, setting off a chain-reaction crash 
involving four buses in northern Indiana, leaving dozens of middle and high students with non-serious injuries and one driver seriously injured.

Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Chad Hill said the bus driver was taken by helicopter to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne. He said more than 100 students from Wawasee School Corp. were on the buses when the accident occurred about a mile north of North Webster, about 40 miles west of Fort Wayne.

Kosciusko Community Hospital spokeswoman Joy Lohse said 43 people injured in the accident were being treated there. None of them were in serious or critical condition. Lohse said she didn't have any additional information, including how many of the patients were students or their exact conditions. A nursing supervisor at IU Health Goshen Hospital said four students being treated there were in good condition.

Hill said several other students were released to their parents and may have been brought to area hospitals for minor injuries.

The cause of the accident about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday wasn't immediately known. Photos from the scene showed the bus in the back of the collision had heavy damage to the front end, with the hood of the vehicle lying in the road. The bus in front of it had a deep dent in the back. The damage to the other two vehicles  was not as visible.

Hill said the accident apparently occurred when the bus at the front apparently stopped to let a student off.

Children who were not injured were taken by another bus to Wawasee Middle School where they were picked up by their parents, Hill said.



Read more:  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/05/22/indiana-school-bus-crash-leaves-dozens-injured/#ixzz2UOncQwhv
 
 
Courtesy of Associate Press

LAFAYETTE — Lafayette Parish schools may make it easier to become a substitute school bus driver.

Transportation Director Bill Samec has asked the parish school board to suspend its requirement that a driver have a high school diploma or equivalency diploma, The Advocate reports.

Samec said that when the district sought part-time drivers in March, it didn’t find enough to meet its goal of 30 for the next
school year.

Part-time, substitute drivers are often promoted to full-time drivers in Lafayette.

Linda Matthew, former president of the Louisiana School Bus Operators Association, said the problem is low pay. Substitute drivers make between $56 and $86 a day.

“There is definitely a shortage throughout the state,” Matthew said. “It’s not a question of education…. It’s the pay.”

Matthew also said training on topics such as bullying prevention and ethics requires drivers to take time away from their second
jobs.

The number of available substitutes typically fluctuates with the economy, particularly the status of the oil and gas
industry, Samec said.

“When oil is between $90 and $100 a barrel, we can’t find drivers. If oil is $40 a barrel, we’ve got people knocking on the door,”
Samec said.

The substitute shortage is “critical” in the Iberia Parish school system, where there are only 13 substitutes for 129 drivers, said
Raymond Noel, Iberia Parish Schools transportation director.

“We spend a lot of time shuffling routes because of the shortage of substitutes,” he said. “It’s an ongoing issue. A couple of years
ago, we were down to three or four substitutes.”

In Lafayette, Samec said he fears the district will start the school year without enough people to cover for absent drivers.

“We have about a 10 percent daily absentee rate for  bus drivers,” he said. “That’s basically 30 people out about every day. Even
with 30 substitutes, I’ve got staff members driving buses.”

Article online: 


 
 
Courtesy of: Associated Press

Some lawmakers want to shift inspections to a new department, and that move could derail a bill that closes a loophole regarding buses with chronic problems.

DES MOINES -- Most Iowa lawmakers agree that changes need to be made to the state's system for inspecting school buses, but it's unlikely a bill will pass this year because they can't agree on what should be done.

A bill that would help close loopholes in the inspection system by requiring buses with serious problems to be re-inspected before returning to service passed the Iowa Senate on a 46-2 vote.

At least 99 school buses in Iowa have been found to have the same problems in consecutive inspections over the past five years. And Iowa school vehicles that carry fewer than 10 children aren't required to undergo safety inspections.

Some lawmakers now want to shift bus inspections out of the Education Department and into the state Transportation Department, and that move could derail the legislation, the Des Moines Register reported.

Republican Rep. Kevin Koester, of Ankeny, said school buses should undergo the same inspections as commercial vehicles, even if the revised bill can't be passed this year.

"I am not in a hurry to pass a bill that's not that adequate," he said. And the Education Department can make some changes to the inspections without a new law.

But former lawmaker Mike Cormack, who works for the Education Department, said moving the inspections would only delay needed improvements.

"It's careless and reckless to do lawmaking on something as important as the safety of children in the waning days of a legislative session," Cormack said. "The best thing would be to take the more well-vetted legislation and send it to
the governor's office."

Koester said moving inspections to the Transportation Department should save school districts money.

Article online:  http://www.thonline.com/news/iowa-illinois-wisconsin/article_17d41bad-44bf-54c1-8b56-96c9222498de.html


 
 
Article courtesy of:  Kim Tunnicliffe @ Boston.cbslocal.com

WESTWOOD (Massachusetts) (CBS) – Bus inspectors fanned out across the state Monday to conduct their tri-annual inspections of all the school buses in Massachusetts.

At Westwood High School, inspectors checked backup warning systems, lights, windshield wipers and brakes. They even checked under the hood to make sure there was no critical oil or fluid leaks.

“We check the whole exterior of the bus,” said RMV inspector Brian Patten, “do a complete walk-around, check all the lug nuts make sure everything is securely fastened and check all the tires.”

Registrar Rachel Kaprielian says each of the state’s 9,000 school buses is checked three times a year. “There’s a half-a-million kids every single day that are transported on school buses, we have to ensure their safety on the bus and make sure the buses are in perfect tip-top condition,” said Kaprielian.

Three buses inspected on Monday had mirrors that needed to be adjusted. One bus failed due to battery issues, but it was able to be fixed on site.

All buses were cleared to be back on the road.

Article online:   http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/05/13/inspectors-check-safety-of-school-buses-across-mass/

 
 
  • Article courtesy of:  Bob Segall @ WTHR.com

  • The number of serious safety violations found on Indiana school buses has jumped sharply, but most parents would have no way of knowing. 13 Investigates is now doing something that's never been done before: releasing inspection results for every school bus in the state. For many Indiana school districts, the online database paints a troubling picture of poor maintenance practices, apathy and risk-taking that puts student safety at risk.

    On a cool morning in May, as bus 117 rolls towards his driveway, Art Mabry looks down and smiles.

    "Give me a kiss and have a good day," he says, briefly locking eyes with his second-grade granddaughter before watching her climb aboard.  Moments later, the Warren Township school bus pulls around the corner, carrying Haley Mabry to elementary school – and also carrying a secret.

    Like many school buses in Warren Township, bus 117 has a history of serious safety violations. It recently failed its annual safety inspection.

    Art Mabry had no idea.

    "This is my routine. Every day, I put her on that bus, but I didn't know about any of that," he said, looking at a list of violations state inspectors recently found on bus 117. "Bad brakes? Bad steering? Engine problems? Oil and fluid leaks? If there's those kinds of issues going on, that's just total neglect for the safety of all these little children on these buses."

    Bus 117 is certainly not alone.

    View safety information on all Indiana school buses

    Inspection documents show safety violations involving thousands of school buses all over the state. Many of the violations are for serious safety problems that put hundreds of thousands of students at risk.

    Rigorous inspections

    Every school bus in Indiana must be inspected at least once per year. It's state law.

    Indiana State Police troopers conduct the inspections, which cover all aspects of the vehicle's operation.

    Inspectors say detecting mechanical issues is a crucial step in helping to prevent school bus accidents. And if there were to be an accident, state police want to make sure emergency equipment inside the bus is working so students can safely escape.

    "I look at every bus as a bus my child would be riding," said ISP motor carrier inspector Chris Kath. "These buses are transporting our children. What's more important than that?"

    Kath looks for even minor problems such as holes in seat cushions, broken brackets and trash left on a bus.

    But he says it's more serious violations involving brakes, tires, engines, and safety equipment that can result in a bus being classified as Out of Service.

    "Out of Service violations are something that could harm the student. It means [the bus] has what we deem a serious safety violation and they cannot transport passengers," he explained.

    Indiana State Police tell WTHR no more than 5- to 10-percent of a school district's buses should be placed Out of Service during an annual inspection.

    But Eyewitness News has found for many school districts, the Out of Service rate is much higher.

    "Wow. That's Terrible"

    13 Investigates obtained inspection results for every school bus in Indiana. They show some of Indiana's largest school districts have a horrible safety record when it comes to bus inspections.

    Among the worst Out of Service rates in the state: 
     - M.S.D. Warren Township at 29%
  •   - Lebanon Community Schools at 33%
      - M&M Bus Company (servicing Muncie Community Schools) at 37%
      - M.S.D. Lawrence Township at 40%
      - Illinois Central Bus Company (servicing Gary Community Schools) at 49%
  • How do that many school buses fail an annual state inspection?

    "It's a lack of preparation on our part. The buses should have been better prepared," admits Kevin Mest, chief operating officer for Illinois Central. "We should have done better. We're making plans to do better this year."

    He says some of the buses that failed last summer's state inspection were never intended to transport Gary school children and are no longer being used for the school district.

    But on a recent visit to Gary, 13 Investigates found many of the Illinois Central buses that failed the state inspection are transporting children to and from school.

    Bus 504, which was cited by state police for serious brake and steering problems, transports Kerance Jackson to the Banneker Achievement Center elementary school.

    Jackson's mother hadn't heard anything about the bus' troubled past.

    "Wow. That's terrible. I really just want to go snatch my son off the bus right now," said Keturah Jackson, after seeing a long list of Out of Service violations for the district's school bus contractor.

    Mest, who recently joined the bus company, says new management has been hired to ensure better compliance with state safety rules.

    "We learned some important lessons. We know our next inspection is coming in June and I am confident we're going to have a very strong inspection," Mest said.

    Warren Township Schools offered a vague statement suggesting it is taking action following its poor inspection this spring.

    "In response to the bus inspection data given to us by the Indiana State Police we are diligently looking at ways to improve upon our current maintenance practices and processes," wrote M.S.D. Warren Township media relations director Dennis Jarrett. He offered no specifics and did not respond to repeated requests by WTHR to explain why so many buses were placed Out of Service. He did, however, point out all of the school district's buses were eventually approved by ISP.

    Kids at risk

    It's a fact that poorly-performing school districts and bus companies like to point out after they suffer through a miserable inspection: buses placed out of service are not allowed to transport students until they are fixed, and many problems cited by ISP are fixed quickly.

    The problem is, most buses are only inspected once a year, and school districts know ahead of time when it's happening. Yet on inspection day -- the one day you would expect every Indiana school bus to be in the safest condition possible -- state police are still finding some school districts with 20-, 40-, even 50-percent of their buses that fail inspection.

    "I think it boils down to maintenance, or a lack thereof," said Kath, shaking his head. "And I wonder how those people still have their jobs and how the school and the school board is allowing it to go on .... They have to know, you're putting a child at risk."

    Some school districts -- like Lawrence Township -- admit their maintenance program is not working.

    "This is totally unacceptable," said Lawrence Township Schools operations director Rodger Smith, when WTHR asked him about his school district's 40-percent Out of Service rate. "We're going to change what we're doing and how we're doing things."

    Smith says since the district's embarrassing inspection in March, there is now a greater focus on fixing all problems on a school bus each time the bus comes to the maintenance garage for service. (In the past, buses were not subjected to full inspections on a regular basis by school mechanics.) But that new policy is unlikely to make a significant dent in the school district's bus
    maintenance woes. Smith says his transportation budget has been cut by more than a million dollars annually because of property tax caps that have hit schools hard.

    "I'm not saying it's an excuse but it's a pressure all school districts are moving to right now. A lack of budget within our transportation department… think about what kind of pressures that puts on us." 

    Lawrence Township Schools responded to the pressure by cutting back on bus mechanics. It used to have seven. Now it has only four mechanics to maintain 200 buses. (That 50:1 bus-to-mechanic ratio is much higher than other area school districts.) Some of those mechanics are angry.

    "They've cut back on everything," one of the mechanics told WTHR. Several current and former mechanics talked to 13 Investigates. All asked Eyewitness News to withhold their identity for fear of retaliation by the school district. But they are speaking out because they believe fewer mechanics is resulting in more safety problems and more danger on school buses.

    "Stuff is happening that shouldn't be happening," said an M.S.D. Lawrence Township mechanic. "Brake chambers bad. Tie rods bad … that's the stopping of the bus. Maybe they are saving a little money, but you can't just put kids at risk."

    Eyewitness News has found the number of buses ordered out of service for serious safety violations statewide has jumped 35% over the past 5 years. In 2008, the last time WTHR analyzed Indiana bus inspection statistics, 10% of school buses had been placed Out of Service by state inspectors. The current analysis of all statewide bus inspections shows 13.5% of inspected buses were ordered Out of Service from January 2012 through March 2013.

    "We do see a lot of it," Kath said. "It makes you scratch your head sometimes. Our job is to inspect the buses. It's not to be their maintenance department and to tell them what problems they need to fix. It can be frustrating."

    Nothing to hide

    Other school districts boast very low Out of Service rates. Their school buses seem to sail through state inspections.

    Last week, ISP inspectors completed an annual inspection on 39 Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson school buses in less than two hours. Only a single bus failed the inspection when a transmission fluid line burst as inspectors looked under the hood.

    "They do things the right way and you can tell that right away," Kath said. "Just about every one of their buses was approved."

    The district's superintendent says that's no coincidence.

    "We expect 100%," said Matt Prusiecki. "We're not waiting for problems to happen. We try to plan and prevent as opposed to respond and react. It's worked well for us."

    The school district has routinely maintained an Out Of Service rate between 2- and 7-percent.

    It has two mechanics for 39 buses, and that ratio allows for routine maintenance instead of only focusing on emergency repairs.

    While Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson permitted WTHR into its maintenance garage and granted full access to watch and videotape its annual inspections, many other school districts would not grant 13 Investigates any access to their facilities.

    "If they're doing things right, there should be nothing to hide," Kath said.

    Violations kept quiet

    So how will you know if school bus safety violations are up – and maintenance is down – at your child's school district … or if it's just the opposite?

    Chances are, you won't. (Actually you will if you keep reading.)

    School districts don't publish the information, and neither does Indiana State Police.

    ISP and the Indiana Department of Education began working to develop an online school bus inspection program in 2006. Back then, the state agencies told WTHR the program was supposed to provide parents access to bus inspection reports for their children's school buses. Seven years later, IDOE has pulled out of the project and ISP says it isn't sure if – or when – such a database will be ready for the public.

    "I wish I could give you a timeframe but I can't," said ISP Sgt. Dave Bursten.

    ISP has been working with a private company to establish a hand-held electronic inspection system. Compared to paper and pencil inspection forms, the new system has made school bus inspections far more efficient for state troopers. But the focus of the system has been to help inspectors -- not to make school bus records more accessible to the public.

    "Keep in mind, our goal here is not to create something for the public. That is a by-product. Our goal is to create a tool for conducting thorough, efficient, robust school bus inspections as we are required to do by state law," Bursten said.

    "Parents should see that" 

    Many parents, school officials, private bus companies, and even state police inspectors say more public access to school bus inspections is a good idea.

    "I would like to be told. I would definitely like to be told what's happening with the bus," said Keturah Jackson.

    "I as a parent want to know how my child's bus is maintained," agreed Trooper Kath.

    Illinois Central also favors heightened public access to inspection records and welcomes the idea of online reporting. "It was hard to even find the inspection results for our own company," Mest told WTHR. "We support full transparency and think it's appropriate to share full results."

    "I think parents should see that information. Of course, they want to know," added Mabry.

    Rick Pederson, transportation director for Center Grove Schools, says school districts should be on board, as well.

    "Parents have a right to know what their child is being transported on and what the condition of that vehicle is. If it was my child, I'd want to be certain that bus was safe before I put my child on that bus. Yeah, I think it's a good idea."

    That's why 13 Investigates has created an online school bus inspection tool. 
  • WTHR's searchable database includes information on every bus from every school district in Indiana. You'll find recent inspection data on public schools buses, private schools buses -- even daycare buses and after-school program buses, too.
    For the first time, it's all online and all in one place. Take a moment to check the buses in your school district, and to compare its Out of Service rate to other districts around the state.
  • Article Online:  http://www.wthr.com/story/22238574/13-investigates-uncovers-school-bus-safety-records




  •  
     
    Article courtesy of:  Bill Hanna @ Star-Telegram.com

    As his mother watched in horror, Haven Lee Norton screamed as a school bus  rolled over him Monday morning.  “Then he went silent,” said Shannon Norton, Haven’s mother.

    The driver of the Springtown (Texas) school district bus didn’t hear her son as she drove over him, killing the 10-year-old, Shannon Norton said.  She told her son to cross in front of the bus, as he did every morning, while the lights were flashing and another child was getting on the bus, she said.  

    “I saw him slip,” Norton said. “He hollered, but [the bus] started rolling and [the driver] had taken her foot off the brake. He tried to get out of the way. He hollered, and I hollered.”

     The Texas Department of Public Safety is still investigating the accident. Evidence at the scene showed the boy was apparently struck by both a front and rear tire, said Trooper Gary Rozzell, a DPS spokesman.  When the accident occurred about 6:30 a.m. at 121 Hilltop Meadows, between Springtown and Azle, it was already light, Norton said.  The bus driver usually had her window down so she could communicate with parents and children, but the window was rolled up Monday morning.
    “If she had her window down, she would have been able to hear,” Norton said.  “I put my kid on that bus in her possession. It’s her job to protect my children and she took my child’s life because she wasn’t aware of her surroundings.”
     
    Rozzell said the bus driver “stopped the bus and activated the lights” as she stopped to pick up another child across the street.
    “The boy came up beside the bus as she deactivated the lights,” Rozzell said. “The bus started to pull forward, and the boy couldn’t get out of the way, and was struck.”  At the time, there were four children and another bus driver on the bus,
    Rozzell said.

    Haven, a fourth-grader at Springtown Elementary School, was pronounced dead at the scene.  Driver placed on leave
    The bus driver, whose name wasn’t released, voluntarily submitted to drug and alcohol testing afterward, which is school district policy, Rozzell said.  She has been placed on administrative leave, said Springtown school district Superintendent Mike Kelley.
    “It’s standard operating procedure to place the driver on administrative leave and evaluate the situation — see where she is emotionally,” Kelley said. “I’d have a hard time knowing when I’d want to come back.”

    Kelley described the driver as “a wonderful lady” who’s had a good driving record as a bus driver.  “She’s done a great job for us the last two years,” Kelley said. Counselors were at the school Monday and will return Tuesday. Several ministers volunteered to help, and six area school districts offered counselors, Kelley said. Kelley said this was the first fatality that he knew of involving a Springtown school bus.

    ‘He loved going to school’ Norton said her son had been riding the bus for the last two weeks because one of the family’s cars had broken down. His 7-year-old sister also rides the bus but she stayed home on Monday, Norton said. She had recently met with school officials who reported that Haven had “caught up” to his fellow fourth-graders after moving to Springtown from Florida
    last September. “He loved going to school, he loved his classmates,” Shannon Norton said. Norton said her son was also involved at Country Cowboy Church in Bridgeport, where their family worshipped. “He knew Jesus, he loved the outdoors, loved to fish with his Papi and his uncles and he loved to play with his uncles and his cousins,” Norton said. “He was just an awesome child.”
     
    Before living in Florida, the family had resided in California. His mother plans to have a memorial service locally, but will have his remains cremated so she can eventually take his ashes to California. “He loved Texas, but he grew up in California,” she said. “California is his  home.”
     
    Investigators checked the bus to see if the lights and brakes were working properly and found no issues. It was released back to the school district. Rozzell said.
     
    Article Online:  http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/05/13/4847091/boy-dies-after-being-run-over.html#storylink=cpy