Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bus driver's actions at issue in girl's death

As Detroit police continue to investigate the death of a student killed after sticking her head out of a school bus window, a key question will be whether the driver violated rules by not checking to ensure that all children were seated before moving the bus.

Bob Riley, executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, said it's protocol to do so. "All drivers are trained to have kids completely seated at all times, which would prohibit heads or arms out the window," he said.

Tiffany DiCicco-Ross had stuck her head out of the window of a school bus when the bus backed up and her head slammed into a tree.

A crisis team is to return to Phoenix Multicultural Academy in Detroit next week to help students and staff deal with grief surrounding the accident.

Meanwhile, Mayor Dave Bing said Friday that the city will review a two-week old request from parents at the school that the city look into signage and speeding around the school.

Bing's comments came after the president of the local school community organization at Phoenix demanded in a news release late Thursday that the city be held accountable for the accident because of ongoing traffic problems at the school.

City Council President Charles Pugh said he met with 10 parents from the school three weeks ago to discuss having more stop signs around the school.

"It's just breaks your heart," Pugh said. "I understand their frustration, I really do. ... Unfortunately, a stop sign cannot be put up that quickly."

About 30 social workers, psychologists and counselors were at Phoenix on Friday, meeting with more than 300 students and staff, schools spokesman Steve Wasko said. Community agencies have also offered assistance.

Contact LORI HIGGINS: 313-222-6651 or Staff

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