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New rules, regulations in place at Brentwood after bus debacle

Last Modified: Monday, December 24, 2012 4:26 PM

By Nichole Osinski / American Press

Educators put into place new rules and regulations at Brentwood Elementary after a 6-year-old was mistakenly allowed on a day care bus after school on Dec. 3.

The kindergarten student, Jadaelyn Jackson, was supposed to take a school bus to his home that day. But when he did not show up a search ensued, lasting about four hours. Jackson was found safe at All About Kids day care, where he had been ever since leaving school that day on the wrong bus.

The day care, which has declined comment, discovered Jackson was not supposed to be at their facility when they checked his backpack and found his ID, which did not list him as a day care student. Jackson was returned to his parents. Asked this week if the child was still a student at Brentwood, Principal Brent Washington did not comment.

The Calcasieu Parish School Board and Brentwood Elementary have implemented a rule that new children have to have color-coded ID tags outside their bags that identifies if they are a car rider, bus rider, walker, etc.

“There was a faculty meeting to make sure aides and other non-teachers have awareness about what has happened; we need to have a little more awareness at school,” said Dolores Hicks, administrative director of elementary schools. “We have revisited our polices and procedures and our routines and wanted to raise faculty and staff awareness.”

Hicks said part of the confusion with Jackson came from him being both a bus and car rider; when the day care bus came to pick up the children the driver assumed he was a new rider. Though there was reportedly a new student to arrive at the day care, Hicks said this was simply a miscommunication and that no child had been left behind at the school.

Any day care picking up students must now go through a sign-in and sign-out procedure. Washington said that the school will use a written form; whoever is on duty will have to sign it along with the driver for that day.

“We didn’t do a lot of new changes. What we did was strengthen the rules we already had,” Washington said. “There are checks on both sides and the most important thing for me is for people on this side to say ‘I put these students on this van and I know because I signed my name to put them on.’”

The school is planning to order new tags for students that are sturdier in order to prevent any concerns about a student losing them or having the tag damaged.

Some students, like Jackson, alternate between being a bus or car rider, prompting the school to require parents to physically come to the building to request a change in transportation. Previously, a parent or guardian could simply call the school if their child was taking a bus instead of a car home or vice versa.

Brentwood will continue to have adult supervision as students leave at the end of the day. Washington said staff members had been on duty the day Jackson went missing and in the future faculty and staff should be more aware of new students and how children are leaving the premises.

“At Brentwood and throughout the parish they are required to have a routine in place,” Hicks said. “Everybody’s more alert now and being a little more careful when putting children on buses or putting children in cars.”

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