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Washington County schools reinforcing current bus procedures

November 01, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Washington County Public Schools officials reinforced existing procedures after a kindergartner who boarded the wrong bus earlier this month was dropped off two miles from home.

Schools spokesman Will Kauffman said Wednesday that no new practices were put in place after the incident, and he would not say if all of the existing procedures were followed that day.

He said that a review of existing practices and the situation were performed immediately after officials learned of the problem. Officials have said there was a miscommunication among staff members at the boy's school that led him to get on the wrong bus.

"We're constantly reviewing practices and procedures to ensure that the safety of students and staff is maintained," Kauffman said.

The school system's human resources department is reviewing the incident, and Kauffman said he could not comment about the review, citing personnel matters. He said that if personnel action is taken as a result of the situation, that also will be confidential.

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Immediately after the incident, school system and contract bus drivers were given information reinforcing the specific steps to take if a student should ride a different bus or get off at a different stop, he said. Bus drivers were told to ask for the student's name, and also to ask for a note that will be signed by school administrators.

School officials have said that a Funkstown student was supposed to ride a different bus home the day he boarded a bus that was not his regular bus or the one he was supposed to ride. He did have a note, officials have said.

The school should have a copy of that note, Kauffman said, and the bus driver is not to leave the school with the student without that note.

Kauffman said he could not say which of these steps, if any, were not followed in the case of the Funkstown student, except to say that there was a miscommunication among staff members that day.

He said these existing procedures were reinforced among bus drivers and school staff to help prevent future problems and ensure the safety of students.

"We are stressing consistency across the county, ensuring that everyone follows those standard practices and is aware of them," Kauffman said.

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