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Duval students left on hot bus got sick, parent complains

Transportation officials say it won't happen again

Posted: August 21, 2014 - 6:27pm

Duval County school and bus officials apologized for an incident Wednesday that left some students in a hot bus long enough to make them sick.

A parent complained that her two daughters, ages 8 and 10, had to be treated at a hospital for heat-related illness Wednesday night after they were forced to wait aboard a non-air-conditioned school bus for more than an hour on Jacksonville’s Westside.

Temperatures were above 95 degrees but the heat index made it feel much hotter.

After school Wednesday the bus picked up students at Chimney Lakes Elementary and then stopped again at Enterprise Learning Academy, 2 miles away, to pick up more children.

But there was a delay due to an “overload situation,” said Eric Taylor, vice president of operations for Birnie Bus Service, in a written statement. He said bus and school staff were checking to make sure the correct children were on the correct bus.

“The bus windows were down and the driver along with school officials were on the bus,” he said.

Jolene Carlton, the mother of the two ill daughters, told News4Jax that her children have had to sit in the hot bus too much and have been late coming home this week.

Duval Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said the district wants to hear from parents as soon as any transportation issue occurs so the district can contact the bus companies. Parents should contact (904) 381-RIDE (381-7433).

“These bus incidents are unacceptable to the district, families, and especially the children we serve each day,” Vitti said.

“As a district we will take ownership of this incident by problem solving with our bus contractors and more importantly hold them accountable to improving transportation of our students.”

It was unclear if the bus driver would be disciplined. Birnie Bus officials did not return calls for comment.

Denise Amos: (904) 359-4083

Comments (1)

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tobot241 08/22/14 - 07:09 am
Premium Member

First lawsuit of the school

First lawsuit of the school year? What kind of WIMPS are we (not me) turning our children into? I never rode an air conditioned bus nor went to an air conditioned school! It was just as hot in So. Ga and No. Fl. when I was a kid, before the Gubment Wussification Program started.

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