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Did Movie Trailer Depicting School Bus Dragging Take it Too Far?

A trailer for “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” the Nickelodeon film that hits theaters on August 9, features the main character attending a U.S. high school and riding a school bus for the first time, after growing up in the jungle with her parents.

As Dora embarks on this new adventure, she rides a school bus to her high school. A scene in the trailer shows Dora unloading from the bus on her first day of school—but her backpack gets caught in the loading doors. The bus driver pulls away and continues down the street, as Dora dangles and kids laugh in the background.

What is meant to be a harmless and funny narrative, has actually killed and seriously injured students nationwide?

On May 31, a young girl was dragged several hundred feet after the school bus doors closed on her backpack.

ABC3340 reported that in Santa Rosa County, Florida, a student was dragged for 20 seconds, as the bus traveled for 360 feet before the driver noticed the student hanging in the loading doors. The girl reportedly suffered road rash on her leg, markings on her calf and cuts on her toes.

The girl is recovering but was reportedly shaken-up following the incident. According to press accounts, if the girl had not held on to her backpack shoulder straps, more than likely she would have fallen underneath the bus and been severely or fatally injured by the bus wheels.

Two years ago, a 9-year old in Massachusetts was killed when her school bus doors closed on her and she was dragged a short distance before the school bus struck her. She was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

One of the first major student dragging incidents happened in 1997, when a Kansas City boy was dragged and crushed to death by his school bus, after his jacket strings got caught on a bus-door handrail, Robb & Robb, LLC. reported. The mother who lost her child sued the school bus transportation company and received $14 million. She was reportedly going to use the funds to promote school bus safety and create a memorial for her son, Ryan W. Sayles.

The Pupil Transportation Safety Institute published a study that found most fatalities occur outside of the bus. The student confirmed that from 1960 to 2015, three students were killed after being dragged by their school bus. However, the number is still growing since 2015.

I am sure the producers of the Dora movie didn’t mean to undermine the seriousness of the situation. It appears they were simply naive or uninformed about the potential harm that could come from being stuck in the doors of a moving school bus, while in search of some laughs.

The school bus industry, however, can use the trailer as an opportunity to quickly and bluntly call attention to the dangers for students when in the loading zone, during pre-service training provided this summer.

Student dragging will also be a topic at this year’s STN EXPO Reno.

Editor’s Note: Watch the clip below and send your thoughts and comments to taylor@stnonline.com

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