The Indiana Department of Education is urging school districts statewide to review safety procedures following the death of an elementary school principle in a bus pick-up zone.
Susan Jordan was killed when a school bus jumped the curb outside of Amy Beverland Elementary School on Jan. 26. News reports indicated that Jordan was struck as she pushed students out of the bus’ path, though two students were taken to a hospital with serious injuries. An investigation found no mechanical issues with the bus involved.
While the Indiana Department of Education called such incidents “extremely rare,” it highlighted a detailed list of precautions for school districts to take.
“Take this time to remind bus drivers, community members, staff and students to operate with increased care and awareness, and please be considerate of pedestrians, student drivers and the general school zone,” states the memo to superintendents.
It calls for a review with safety staff and local authorities of school parking lots and procedures for arrival and dismissal. It also recommends the placement of vehicle bollards or barriers that can serve as protection for students from vehicles navigating the parking lot. The memo added that these barriers “should be part of a comprehensive assessment for the safety needs of your school.”
The department added that districts could use capital improvement funds to purchase the barriers, and that future safety meetings will discuss the potential use of secured school safety funds to offset the costs.
The memo also provided additional recommendations that should be a part of routine bus pick-ups and drop-offs on school grounds, including an assessment of loading and unloading areas and traffic patterns around them, procedures for how school buses are to pull into parking lots, how bus drivers are to park the buses and the frequent, personal review by transportation supervisors of actual bus dismissal procedures at all school sites several times a month.
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