Medical training not required for school bus drivers


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — An eight-year-old New Haven girl dies after she has a medical emergency on the school bus, and now the school district and First Student are investigating.

“Our hearts go out to the family,” said Will Clark, Chief Operating Officer for New Haven Public Schools. “It is obviously a huge tragedy for Lincoln-Bassett Elementary School.”

“Protocol is to secure the bus and then call into the dispatch who will then make the appropriate 911 call or whatever other services are required in the situation,” Clark said of when there’s an emergency on the bus.

They’re investigating to see if that protocol was followed and if protocols need to change.

RELATED STORY: Young student dies days after emergency on school bus, questions raised

“Anything we can do to work from this and better protocols and things we’ll certainly want to do and work with First Student,” said Clark.

To become a First Student bus driver one has to complete 43 hours of training and 13 hours annually. A driver also has to pass an extensive background check. The state and school district do not require any medical training.

Dionne Smith’s five children ride a First Student school bus everyday.

“That could have been my child and it’s not an easy thing,” she said. “I feel for the parents.”

Smith says two of her children have nut allergies. Now she’s thinking about telling the bus driver.

“It’s a safety precaution,” said Smith. “They should know about their children that are on the bus so they’re able to help if anything happens.”

Smith would like to see more communication between everyone who sees her kids everyday.

“I think for everybody, parents, school, including the bus driver to really know what’s going on with the kids,” she said. “It may be a hard thing because there’s a lot of children, but it’s best for them to know what’s going on with them just in case something like this does happen.”

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