Here's an operational question for you: when driving a route and coming across a downed power line, what exactly do you do? What if the power line falls on the bus itself?
A Toronto Transit Commission driver is being lauded for keeping passengers calm earlier this week after a crane accident caused hydro lines to be knocked down and onto the the bus. First thing's first: stay in the vehicle and call 911 and the local power authority, says Ontario's Electrical Safety Authority. The organization added that all downed power lines should be considered live until local authorities deem the area to be safe. This means staying at least 33 feet away from the electrical lines regardless of the voltage.
ESA said attempts to exit, say, a bus with a downed power line on or near it can result in serious injury or even death because passengers and the driver can become part of the electrical current. If bystanders try to approach and help, tell them to stay away. In case of an onboard fire, according to ESA, the safest egress is to jump away from the vehicle so that no part of the body touches the vehicle and the ground at the same time.
"Land with both feet together, then shuffle away, keeping both feet as close together as possible to a distance of 33 feet," ESA added.
A blog post last month made some interesting points regarding the need for tort reform by comparing a patent infringment lawsuit and counter-suit with a lawsuit brought against a Pennsylvania school district by a high school student who lost her leg after a school bus ran up on a curb and struck her.
The former case centered on the rights to the lucrative "Bratz" dolls manufactured by MGA and allegations by competitor Mattell that the doll creator actually cooked up the idea while still an employee. The latter case, many readers will recall, centered on a 2007 incident that occurred in Fairless Hills, Pa., when, the National Transportation Safety Board later concluded, the school bus driver mistakenly hit the accelerator instead of the brakes. The bus was sent out of control and into a group of students.
One of them was Ashley Zauflik, who experienced the worst of the injuries. Her leg was amputated as a result, and, oh yes, a jury later found that she should receive $14 million in damages. But, Pennsylvania is one of those states that puts a cap the amount state organizations must pay: $500,000 per case.This despite the Pennsybury school district having a liability insurance policy worth $11 million.
Meanwhile, the Ninth Circuit Cout of Appeals eventually returned ownership of the Bratz dolls to MGA and found in favor of its counter-suit, which meant Mattell owed $310 million plus attorney fees.
Does anything seem out of wack to you? Exactly.
As millions of students return to school on the big, yellow bus, one Kansas City, Kan., high school student already had an experience she — and her mother — probably won’t forget.
An article reported that the mother witnessed seeing her daughter get caught in the door of her school bus while the bus driver began to drive off. As the student was exiting the bus and was getting off, the door shut before she stepped down. Her book bag and calves were stuck in the doorway, so she pried herself loose, then fell off the bus.
Apparently the school bus driver did not see this student, and said she was used to having only one student get off at this particular stop. The mother reported the incident to the school district, which told her they tested the driver for drugs and “something else.” Though the daughter is fine except for a few scratches and bruises, the mother warns other children and bus drivers to be extra cautious.
Earlier this year we reported on Lora Hoagland, a mother of two sons, who filed a lawsuit last year against Franklin Township Community School Corporation in Indiana regarding charging parents school bus fees during the 2011-2012 academic year. Well, it looks like Hoagland is battling the district once again with the latest incident. One of her two sons was involved in a school bus fight, and the other student was an older, bigger boy who left a large gash on his head.
Hoagland wants the district to guarantee that her two sons will be safe before they step back on the bus. She also claims the driver didn’t do anything to prevent the fight, but the district told her that the driver did follow policy, which calls for drivers to wait for backup before intervening in a fight. The district told her they would take care of the matter, but that’s not enough assurance for Hoagland to send her kids back into what she called “a war zone.”
Meanwhile, her lawsuit against the district is still ongoing. On June 18, a Marion County Superior Court Judge granted class-action status to the lawsuit. Hoagland is seeking restitution for the money she and other parents have spent taking their kids to and from school. A trail date is scheduled for Feb. 12, 2013.
Mesa Public Schools and researchers at Arizona State University have partnered for a two-year study to see if teaching social skills to children as young as five can improve academics and prevent bullying. In exchange for allowing the research at 20 Mesa elementary schools, the district will receive free curricula developed by a Seattle-based nonprofit group called Committee for Children. Mesa currently offers elementary-school principals a program called Steps to Respect, but not all choose to use it.
A study leader and assistant research professor at the Arizona State University School of Social and Family Dynamics said principals are seeing bullying behavior earlier and earlier. Though it’s rare to begin programs like this at such a young age, introducing cooperation and social skills from the very beginning might be an advantage. The partnership with ASU is the district's first step toward creating a uniform social-skills curriculum that will be used by all schools in the district.