A mother is questioning if Metro school system's protocol for assessing injuries sustained in a bus accident is adequate after her daughter was involved in an accident last week.
Tina Jackson's four-year-old daughter Haley was one of four children involved in a bus wreck last Thursday afternoon.
All of the children on board the bus were developmentally challenged pre-school children under the age of five.
Jackson told Nashville's News 2 Investigates her daughter's school did not notify her that Haley had been involved in the accident until the following day.
Metro school officials have since admitted there was a miscommunication with parents regarding the incident.
“There was a miscommunication regarding the bus accident that occurred December 6. The school thought transportation had notified families and transportation thought the school had notified families,” Metro-Nashville Public Schools spokesperson Noelle Mashburn said. “Communication with our parents is a priority for Metro schools and we regret that this happened.”
In addition to not being notified on the day of the accident, Jackson said she also questions how and who first assessed the injuries of the pre-school children.
“My issue, the kids on the bus were asked by the bus driver and the police if they were ok. My issue is these kids are three and four years old and they are in this developmentally delayed program and they don't know what a concussion is or [what] whip lash is,” she said.
Jackson continued, “How can they be asked if they are ok or injured when they are so awe struck by seeing a police officer? They say [no one] was not hurt, how do they know? There was a child in a wheel chair and I talked to the teacher the next day who said if he was asked if he was hurt, she doesn't think he could even respond yes or no.”
Officials with the Nashville Fire Department told Nashville's News 2 Investigates when the initial call went out, eight pieces of equipment, including three ambulances were en route to the crash scene.
However, before the emergency vehicles arrived, someone at the scene called and said the crash was being downgraded because no one outside the driver of the second vehicle involved was injured.
Fire officials added that certified EMTs did board the bus and assess the children for possible injuries. None were noted.
However, Jackson said she received paperwork from Metro public schools that indicates otherwise.
“There was a sheet of paper in her backpack that said if the kids reported there was an injury, the EMT would have examined them. The paper said they were asked if they were ok or hurt. They were asked by police and a bus driver and that is fine, but my point is these kids don't understand what an injury from an accident could be,” she said.
Mashburn added, “I've been told the letters are distributed by MNPS Safety and Security. They bring letters to the scene of any accident and give them to the students to take home when there are no visible injuries.”
She continued, “The letters explain an accident occurred and that no visible injuries occurred. It also gives guidance on what to do if the child begins to show signs of injury once they've returned home. To clarify, the letter was not sent home by Bellshire, rather MNPS Safety and Security.”
According to the bus driver manual, it indicates it is a driver's responsibility to check students individually for injuries and if necessary follow first aid procedures.
School officials said proper protocol was maintained in the incident. The school system added they are always evaluating and re-evaluating their protocols to best serve students.
- Dec. 6, 2012: Driver rear-ends school bus north of Nashville