Burgettstown school board OKs new bus procedures

Burgettstown Area School Board voted to approve a new school bus driver’s handbook at Monday’s meeting.

The new manual, which passed by unanimous vote, included updated procedures for those transporting Burgettstown school students. Contained in the 23-page packet were updated rules for drivers in the district.

The rules were an updated version of the school district’s previous standards, not a wholly new document. One of the procedures highlighted in the document included a mandate that, “All accidents or incidents should be reported immediately to the transportation office, or proper school authority and follow all requirements by law in reporting crashes. … Bus accidents that occur when students are on the bus must be reported to 911 immediately.”

The new rules are most likely a result of a Feb. 27 accident in which one school bus rear-ended another school bus on Route 18 in Burgettstown. McDonald police said drivers did not notify 911 following the crash.

Prior to the motion’s vote, parents of two students who were involved in the accident asked board members for more information.

“Why were our kids treated like they were?” asked William Cherenko.

Superintendent Debbie Jackson told the parents she could not discuss the issue because it was a personnel matter. Board members said they would be happy to meet with the parents privately, but no information could be released until the police had finished their investigation.

The mother of the two students, Denise Cherenko, was visibly upset.

“They were told to shut up and quit crying because they were not hurt,” Debbie Cherenko said.

During the meeting, board members also voted to approve a new school police operations manual and standard procedures for people authorized to use weapons on school grounds. The board also agreed to send new security officers Dean LaSavia and David Wargo to a resource officer course with the Lower Burrell Police Department at a cost of $1,454.53.

Burgettstown Area School District recently hired the two officers after safety concerns were raised following the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.


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