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VERIFY: What are the protocols for school bus drivers after an accident?

School districts are given state provided best practice procedures to follow after a bus accident.

Milledgeville — After a Jones County bus accident resulted in a child being returned home with a bloodied chin and a concussion, parents were concerned about how the accident was handled and what should have been done.

Kelsey Risby has one child in the Jones County school system now, and said he's already had two children come through.

"You should call the ambulance," Risby said. "I mean, that was totally wrong. If my kid was on the bus, I would want you to call the ambulance, especially with whiplash or anything could have happened."

13WMAZ set out to verify what the procedures are if a bus accident occurs. We reached out to the Jones County School District, but they declined to comment. Instead, Baldwin County School District Transportation Director Donald Tuft and Transportation Specialist Sheba Nelson explained how their district responds.

"First thing [bus drivers] do is just radio into the dispatcher, let them know the location," Tuft said. "If there’s any injury, we immediately notify law enforcement. We get EMS or whoever else needs to be involved. We notify the superintendent and the deputy superintendent."

Both Tuft and his assistant will head to the accident scene to ensure that everyone is OK, including students and any potential witnesses or involved parties.

The district will also dispatch a mechanic to evaluate damage to the bus. If the bus can still be driven, drivers will finish their route. Otherwise, a second bus will be dispatched to finish the route. Injured children are taken to the hospital or driven to the board of education Nelson said. She said that communication is paramount.

"We will contact parents after we return to the office to make sure that everyone is aware of the incident or the situation or the accident," Nelson said. "Once the child gets on the school bus, the child is in our custody. The child basically becomes our child, so we’re responsible for everything that happens to the child after that."

The school district follows state provided best practice procedures to follow after a bus accident. Jacqueline Harnevious with the Georgia Department of Education said that all bus drivers are required to have a minimum 12 hours training on the best practices. Tuft said that many of his drivers are trained in CPR and first aid as well.

"All my special education routes and all my head start drivers, they are mandated to be certified in first aid and CPR," Tuft said. "Probably 75 percent of my fleet is first aid and CPR certified."

Baldwin County also requires bus drivers to maintain a roster of students riding each bus route.

We verified that there are basic procedures given by the Georgia Department of Education to handle school bus accidents.

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