Girl Dragged by School Bus: Should Bus Driver Be Fired?

by on February 27th, 2015
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COMMENTARY | On Wednesday an 8-year old girl was dragged 900 feet by a school bus. The driver made a routine stop to let three kids off the bus, and thinking all three were safely off the bus, he closed the doors and drove away. According to YNN, he didn’t realize the doors had closed on the strap of the little girl’s backpack and the bus was dragging her down the road. A student on the bus noticed and screamed for the bus driver to stop.

The bus driver slammed on the brakes, opened the door, and retrieved the little girl. She was taken to the hospital, treated for scrapes and bruises, and released the same day. The student who had stood up to alert the bus driver was thrown forward when the bus abruptly stopped and suffered a bruise above his eye.

According to 13WHAM, state police determined the incident was an accident, and the bus driver will not be charged. The 62-year-old driver has been with the Dansville School District for eight years and has a clean driving record. The driver was immediately put on administrative leave. The following day great debate erupted in the community as to whether the bus driver should be fired.

My first reaction was to think this was a freak accident. I’m a parent and I have nothing but admiration for school bus drivers. Those school buses can get loud and crazy and I can’t imagine what it would be like driving the bus and paying attention to 50 kids at the same time. The bus driver admitted to not paying attention when he pulled away — he thought the little girl was safely off the bus. I understand that.

As a parent, I would never wish harm on my child or any other child. My gut instinct is the bus driver had no intention of inflicting harm. As unfortunate as this incident is, I don’t feel punitive measures would prevent such a freak accident from occurring in the future. However, popular opinion is leaning the other way.

On Thursday the majority of radio callers and Facebook commenters were calling for the bus driver to be fired. I agree that the safety of our children is the first priority, but I also believe that the driver didn’t knowingly or willfully put the little girl in danger. As bad as I feel for the little girl, I honestly don’t believe this will ever happen again to her or anyone else.

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