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SAISD bus driver placed on leave, safety monitor resigns after special needs student jumps from bus

District says safety protocols not followed

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Independent School District officials took quick action Thursday against a school bus driver and bus monitor after a 9-year-old special needs student jumped from a moving bus Wednesday afternoon.

District spokeswoman Leslie Price said the bus driver is now on leave and the bus monitor resigned Thursday morning as district police continue to investigate.

Price admitted mistakes were made.

"Protocols were put in place to help ensure this students safety and not all that was being followed," Price said.

Those missteps allowed the student to jump from the bus as it traveled down East Houston Street.

The bus was not going fast when the boy to leap from the rear emergency exit but the child landed on his head and suffered minor injuries.

Price said it wasn't the first time the boy had done something like this.

"Yesterday was the second time the student had jumped off the bus, the first time that it was moving, but there had been two previous attempts as well," she said.

A bus monitor was assigned to the bus in February and he was sitting near the child. Even so, the boy managed to free himself from a seat restraint designed to keep the child strapped to his bus seat. "He was near the child and unfortunately was not able to stop that child before they were able to get off the bus," Price said.

Due to privacy concerns Price couldn't get into specifics about the restraint system used on the bus or the safety  protocols that were ignored.

"Protocols are put in place and sometimes you think you might be able to be more flexible but there's a reason for all of that and what we found in our investigation is not all of that was being followed," Price said. "But an example of protocols put in place is, on this bus, all the students had a seat assignment and so that and other procedures we put in place were not being followed."

The district said it will meet with the child's parents and see what other measures can be taken to ensure his safety. In the meantime, they're also talking to transportation employees about the incident.

"We'll be reinforcing again with all of our transportation personnel and with others as well the importance of completely following all protocols put in place," Price said.

As was originally reported, some of the other students on board the bus were encouraging or daring the boy to jump from the bus but it's been determined those kids are also special needs students and they won't be facing any disciplinary action from the school.

At this point the bus driver's future is uncertain as district police continue to investigate.

A new safety monitor has been assigned to the bus.


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