Jacksonville parents upset after not being notified of bus collision

Local parents upset after not being notified of bus collision
Updated: May. 23, 2018 at 10:55 PM CDT
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JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - About two weeks ago, two Jacksonville ISD school buses were involved in a rear-end collision near Joe Wright Elementary School. Now parents are looking for answers as to why they were not called the day it happened.

"We didn't get a phone call from the bus barn, we didn't get a phone call from the administration building," parent Melissa Van Ness said "So the next morning when my son woke up, he woke up screaming that his head was hurting and then just started vomiting everywhere."

Van Ness' three young children were on the bus that was hit. Her 7-year-old son Devin was taken to the hospital after sustaining injuries on the bus.

"I hit the window and then I told Mr. Alan; then once I told Mr. Alan he told me get back in my seat," Devin Van Ness said.

Van Ness said her son's doctor confirmed that he had head injuries and he had three golf ball size knots on the side of his head.

After multiple parent complaints, she said she received a phone call from the school district the following evening.

According to Jacksonville Independent School District, their standard policy at that time was for the transportation director and assistant transportation director to go on scene to make sure all of the students are okay.

But when asked why parents didn't receive a call informing them about the collision the day it happened, JISD Superintendent Dr. Chad Kelly could not answer.

"I can't answer that question for you right now because I was not part of the transportation director's decision making at that time," he said.

Kelly said parents with an up-to-date phone number received a call the following evening. But some parents said they still haven't received a call.

"I called the bus barn and asked them if they could tell me exactly what happened," parent Brandy Shobert said. "The lady that answered the phone she told me she would have to get back with me and we're twelve days out and I'm still waiting on that phone call."

Shobert said she found out about the incident from a neighbor. Her 6-year-old child complained about having a headache, but she couldn't figure out why.

"I just figured she was having trouble sleeping and thought maybe that might be where I was coming from, but after finding out what actually happened really concerned me because it could have been whiplash," she said.

While not all of the children sustained physical injuries, some parents said their kids are now scared to get back on the bus.

"My kids have never been in a car accident or anything like that, so to them it was very traumatic and scary, and they asked me not to put them on the bus anymore," parent Sindy Porras said.

The superintendent tells us the parents raise an important issue.

"Since that incident we have changed our policy to where parents are notified that day, and we're also going to be rolling medical services to get all the students checked out whether the bus accident was small, as this one, or a larger bus accident," Kelly said.

According to Dr. Kelly, the bus driver was distracted by another bus that was not leaving, and he believes the bus was driving five miles per hour.

Jacksonville ISD declined our request for the security camera footage from both buses, citing student privacy laws.

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