Wrapping up the week on this Veteran's Day and an 11/11/11 numerologist's dream, here are just a few items to keep an eye on:
Transporters of students with special needs are being presented with yet another challenge when it comes to medications on board the school bus. Adding to the usage of epinephrine and insulin shots by students, bus drivers and monitors are now increasingly faced with students who rely on Diastat, typically a rectal gel used in emergency situations to stop cluster seizures caused by epilepsy and other disorders.
The California School Nurses Organization (CSNO) says on its website that Diastat and other anti-seizure medications should not be used in a school setting because they fall within the realm of conscious sedation. CSNO recently fought the passage of SB 161, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 7. The law allows school district personnel, such as bus drivers and aides, to be trained to administer Diastat and other injections when a school nurse is unavailable. The NAPT Special Needs Committee met on this very topic last month in Cincinnati, as there are yet no standards for administering these drugs on the bus.
The number of students who require life-saving medications has increased, said Deborah R.G. Cesario, a school attorney with Lozano Smith in San Diego in a recent issue of LRP's Special Ed eNews.
"This increase appears attributable to more students being found eligible under Section 504 [now that] most mitigating measures may no longer be taken into account [since the passage of the ADA Amendments Act]," she said. "As such, school districts are going to need to quickly assess student symptoms and administer life-saving medications like the Epipen, Diastat, or insulin, not just in the classroom, but also during transportation to and from home and school, field trips, and other extracurricular activities."
This week, Indiana Attorney General Gregory Zoeller reiterated a similar ruling he made last summer that it is unconstitutional for school corporations to charge school bus fees, either directly or indirectly via a third party. The issue re-surfaced earlier this year when the Franklin Township Schools contracted with the Central Indiana Educational Service Center to provide transportation. CIESC was to charge parents a fee of $47.50 for the first child and $40.50 for each additional child to ride the bus.
The yellow school bus made this weeks front page of Education Week to go along with an article on the volatile mix of tax cuts and mounting needs of public school districts. The photo shows a Jefferson County (Colo.) Public Schools bus that is taking a student to a local middle school. The school district is charging fees for students to ride the school bus. Voters there defeated a referendum on Nov. 1 that would have used new sales and income taxes to raise $3 billion for education over the next five years
Student transporters required to comply with federal drug testing rules were reminded this week that on Dec. 1 they must begin using the new custody and control form, or CCF .
The Society of Automotive Engineers International, commonly known as ASE, is presenting a symposium next month on alternative-fuel innovations in school bus powertrains. Scheduled for Dec. 5 in Raleigh, N.C., attendees will hear the pros and cons of converting to hybrid-electric, propane or CNG.
J.J. Keller & Associates, a regulatory training and compliance provider, said earlier this month that the FMCSA's hours-of-service final rule for commercial drivers was being reviewed in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before publishing in the Federal Register. The review period can last for up to 90 days.
Finally, from the "little birdy told me" department: Television viewers should be on the lookout over the coming months for a PBS series that will feature an hour on transportation, and within it a focus on school busing in the United States.