District tightens busing policies

The school district is tightening policy after a 3-year-old child was left unattended on a school bus for three hours with temperatures in the mid-80s.

Three district employees failed to follow policy or notice the Shelby Boivin’s absence on Monday, June 1. Shelby suffered mild dehydration.

“Obviously the system failed,” the girl’s mother, Jennifer Boivin, said.

The district says it has reviewed its policies and addressed the situation. The bus driver was fired. The district will not say if any disciplinary action has been taken against Shelby’s teacher, who failed to note her attendance.

Bus drivers are required to perform pre-trip and post-trip inspections of their vehicles. The driver who picked Shelby up did not do this.

To ensure drivers conduct the inspections, they must take a flag from the back of the bus and place it at the front after each trip. Transportation division officials can quickly check if buses have been inspected by looking for flags at the front.

When the bus arrived at Snoqualmie Elementary School, teaching aides take students from the bus’ door to the classroom. No one asked about the girl’s absence.

Aides will now be required to ask about any missing students.

The classroom teacher was supposed to take attendance and notify the administration of any absent students. The administration was supposed to call parents of absent children.

Somehow, Shelby’s absence was not noted by the teacher, who later told the mother that she thought the girl had been switched to the afternoon pre-school program.

Calls will be made to parents directly from the classroom by aides, rather than by the administration.

Overall, the district made small revision to existing policies.

“They looked at the policies and felt they were the right ones to prevent this from happening again,” said district spokeswoman Carolyn Malcolm.

The district immediately fired the bus driver, but has declined to say if any disciplinary action was taken against either the teacher or teaching aide, both of whom didn’t notice Shelby’s absence.

“It was addressed very directly with those involved and the team, and we feel that appropriate measures were taken that this won’t happen again,” Malcolm said.

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