Legislator seeks state review after one school bus driver falls asleep, another charged with DUI

One Washington County school bus driver fell asleep at the wheel on Tuesday, leading to a mishap that sent several children to a hospital with minor injuries. On Wednesday, another Washington County school bus driver was arrested for DUI. On Friday, the county school superintendent, Kimber Halliburton, announced she had fired the system’s transportation director.

Now, state Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) has asked the state Department of Education to review the school system’s safety procedures, reports WJHL TV.

“(W)e have two within less, less than 24 hours of each other, we’ve got some, there’s obviously some systemic problems, either with the hiring process or we are obviously finding out now that some folks in leadership, potentially high up leadership, is not following the law, and is not following the safety procedures with drug testing, drug screening, and we don’t even know what is going on with background checks, we’ve got to check in with that as well,” Hill said.

…Saturday night when we spoke to Rep. Hill, he referred to Halliburton in our interview saying, “I also think it’s very obvious that our superintendent has some very tough questions that she’s going to have to answer sooner rather than later.”

…”The department of education is the state agency that’s in charge and responsible with overseeing the safety procedures, and so I’ve formally invited them to come to Washington County and I believe they will be doing that here soon to take a closer look at our safety procedures,” Hill said.

2 Responses to Legislator seeks state review after one school bus driver falls asleep, another charged with DUI

  • Avatar
    Michael Lottman says:

    These recent school bus mishaps, plus the conviction of the driver in the horrible Chattanooga bus crash, have brought to the fore once again the issues of school bus safety (as a subissue of school safety in general). One major component of this issue is whether seat restraints (seat belts) should be required for all or most school transportation vehicles (I believe Rep. Joanne Favors’ bill on this issue is still pending in the legislature); other items that remain to be addressed include requirements for bus-monitor staff on certain buses in addition to (or possibly in lieu of) protective devices, other needed administrative policies and procedures related to school bus safety, and a determination as to the level of compliance and the effectiveness of bus safety procedures that have been previously enacted by the legislature. This would be the time to address all these issues, along with the obvious question of safety from gun violence in schools, and perhaps other related items as well. The legislature, which has done nothing of consequence to date, would do well to take on the question of school and school bus safety, which affects so many children and families, before they head out of town this year in a rush to re-elect themselves. And taking on these questions does NOT mean appointment of more commissions and task forces to report in the distant future–it means ACTION NOW, because these problems are not going to get better while we wait.

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    Tricia Stickel says:

    Are the school districts obligated by any law to provide transportation to government schools? There may be counties who can barely afford buses no less conversion filled with seat belts. Be careful what you wish for.

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