Bourque talks school bus safety
By: Howell Dennis
CROWLEY - The 2010-11 school year has been a tragic one for school bus drivers in Acadiana. Two children have died - one in St. Landry Parish and one Monday in Lafayette Parish - while riding school buses. There have also been other accidents and controversies stemming from bus driver behavior and character issues. While one of the fatal accidents was not the fault of the bus driver and the other is still under investigation, the high profile accident has nonetheless caused parents to take notice.
Luckily, none of these incidents have occurred in Acadia Parish. On Tuesday, Acadia Parish Superintendent of Schools John E. Bourque, spoke on the issue.
“That (Monday’s accident) was really tragic,” said Bourque. “Parents put their kids on the bus thinking they are safe.”
“School buses still remains on of the safest means of transportation,” he continued. “Most everybody looks out for the yellow bus because they realize the importance of its cargo but things can still happen.”
In Monday’s case, a six-year-old kindergarten student was caught in a bus’ door when the driver, who apparently didn’t notice him, drove off. The boy was dragged approximately 20 feet before the driver stopped. He died from his head injuries.
“We’ve been blessed in our parish,” said Bourque. “Our drivers have been doing a great job. I am really happy with the job that Steve Jones (who supervises the bus drivers) and Dora Johnson have been doing.”
Bourque stressed that the school board is very strict when it comes to hiring drivers.
“We have thorough background checks for drivers, we put on work shops and send out news letters regarding bus safety,” he said. “Ultimately it comes down to the driver taking special care of his kids.”
Bourque, who was the La. School Superintendent of the Year last year, stressed that he is proud of the work of Acadia Parish’s bus drivers.
“It’s remarkable because our drivers really care about these kids."