The Kansas State Department of Education has published its annual National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey after releasing preliminary results last month that indicated eight states reported a total of nine student fatalities occurred during the 2011-2012 school year.
The final report reiterated that two of the nine students killed as pedestrians as they got on or off the bus lived in Georgia, while one fatality each was recorded in Iowa, Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington State and Wyoming. The deaths, however, only represent "official" police reports when a school bus was directly involved in the incident.
The actual number of students hit and killed by their own school bus or another motorist can, and often is, much higher nationwide, because the survey conducted by the Kansas DOE's School Bus Safety Unit only records those fatalities that are reported by states as occuring immediately before or after loading or unloading the bus, or as the bus arrived or was leaving the scene. Student fatalities occuring before or after that are not reported.
The 2011-2012 survey found that the Georgia fatalities included a 17-year-old girl who was killed by a passing vehicle as she crossed in front of her school bus and an 11-year-old boy who was attempting to catch his school bus after initially missing it on its first pass and was also struck by an oncoming vehicle.
Four other students killed were also age 11. In Iowa, a boy crossing the street to his stop doubled back to pick up something he had dropped, when the bus hit him with the front wheels. A Nevada girl, 11, was struck and killed by the right rear wheels of the bus as she was crossing the street to her home. An 11-year-old boy in Washington state was killed across the street from his home as he waited with other students, despite a scheduled stop located in front of his home. According to the survey, the parent called to the boy before the bus had arrived. The boy ran back across the street and was struck and killed by a passing vehicle. The 11-year-old girl in Wyoming had just de-boarded the school bus when a passing motorist struck and killed her.
A 10-year-old boy was killed in Mississippi by a hit-and-run driver as he tried to board the school bus. The motorist turned himself into authorities later that day, the survey stated. Meanwhile, a 13-year-old girl who was crossing the street to board her school bus was struck by motorist, and a 12-year-old Tennessee boy was crushed by the right front wheels of his school bus while he attempted to board.
The six students killed by passing motorists increased by two from the 2010-2011 survey, which reported a total of eight student fatalities.
Wilma Crabtree, the senior administrative assistant for the Kansas DOE School Bus Safety unit, said the survey is only available online because of increased printing and mailing cost.