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Injury Puts Pilot Program At Risk At Kanawha School Board Meeting

Reported: Apr. 24, 2014 10:39 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 24, 2014 11:45 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Sean Delancey) -- A four-year-old getting injured after falling out of his seat on a school bus has put a Kanawha County pilot program under scrutiny.

The program was on the agenda at the school board meeting Thursday.

Rod Stapler is on a mission to keep kids safe on school buses.

"This is a four-year-old we're talking about,” Stapler said. “On a bus, for more than an hour."

Stapler said Kanawha County's plan to have all young kids attend pre-school is putting kids at risk, because school buses don't have restraints and aren't designed for riders as young as four years old.

He says one child has already been injured on a bus, just four days into the pilot program.

"Picked up at 5:45,” he said. “Fell asleep, went around a curve and fell in the floor. It's just a bump, but that's not the point."

Pinch, Alum Creek, and Pratt elementary schols are involved in the pilot program. At the beginning of the fall school year, all Kanawha County schools will take part.

School board member Becky Jordan said the program is mandated by law and trained aids are on every school bus to watch the children.

Jordan said Thursday's injury is not a good sign for the future of the program.

"It's scary,” she said. “I mean, they are babies at the age of four, but we also have to follow the law and how else are we going to get them to school?"

Stapler said he saw this coming.

"I came here when they first come to us with all this, and told them this was going to happen and it did - four days into it," he said.

Jordon said she's been told by engineers that full-size school buses can't be equipped with restraints that would work for pre-school students.

Members of the Communications Workers of America also caused waves at the school board meeting,

They said current bandwidth service in schools is not near enough.

The CWA and Frontier Wireless proposed a bandwidth upgrade from 100 megabits to a plan 10 times more powerful at 1 gigabit.

Both organizations said online education is the way of the future, making Internet access more important than ever.



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