New safety protocol in place after child fell asleep on school bus in Taunton

School Bus

TAUNTON, Mass. (WLNE) – A child missed morning drop-off last week in Taunton and was brought back to the bus yard after they fell asleep and went unnoticed.

The driver of the bus noticed the child once back at the bus yard, said Kathy Perry, director of student services and transportation and Title IX coordinator for Taunton Public Schools.

Around 9:15 a.m. on September 10 the district was notified by the bus company, H & L Bloom Bus Lines, that a child fell asleep and did not get off the bus when students were dropped off at Mulcahey Elementary School.

The driver, after dropping those students off, headed back to the bus yard on Grosvenor Street where the driver did a routine check. That’s when they found the child asleep on one of the seats.

“The bus driver found the student asleep on one of the bus seats,” Perry said.

The child was then transported by the driver back to the elementary school.

“Throughout this whole incident, the child was never left unattended on the school bus thanks to the quick actions of the driver as well as the student didn’t miss any instruction.”

There are safety protocols in place that require bus drivers to check all seats of the bus before getting off, Perry said, and the driver followed those protocols.

“The protocol is to check the bus before they exit the bus, and they’re forced to do that because each bus has a safety mechanism in the back of the bus, and so drivers are forced to physically get up and walk to the back of the bus and press the safety button which ensures that they see all of the seats before they’re exiting,” she said. “If they try to exit the bus before they press the safety button, then the horn beeps and the alarm goes off.”

But a new protocol will be in place in response to this incident.

Bus drivers will now have to check all seats before pulling away from the school.

“Check the bus while on campus,” Perry said, “and because we are still following our COVID-19 protocols, the bus drivers are not only forced to go to the back of the bus to check the alarm, they also do their spraying and sanitizing after each run.”

Perry said the child’s parents were notified of the incident as well as the school community. She said they were “appreciative” of being notified promptly and that the safety protocols were followed.

“My first concern is always the child, and it was comforting to know that the child was never left unattended but what goes through my mind is we’ve gotta continue to remind staff to follow protocols, and it actually ensures that our protocols are working. I guess, for me as an educator, that’s comforting to know.”

The bus company didn’t respond to a request for comment Friday.

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Categories: Massachusetts, News, Regional News