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First Student failed to follow protocol in minor bus crash

Child returns home with bus crash note
Posted at 4:22 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 00:55:01-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A charter school parent is unnerved after she says her child's school wasn't notified of a minor bus crash late last week involving a First Student bus.

Her son, 7, arrived home December 13 from the Charter School for Applied Technologies (CSAT) in the Town of Tonawanda with a note stating his school bus was in an accident.

Mindy Collopy tells 7 Eyewitness News after several days, the district transportation manager of First Student Bus Terminal finally contacted her, admitting they failed to follow notification protocol.

“I think people need to know that protocol was not followed, and they tried to cover it up and there was an accident and nobody knew about it and nobody would have known about it if I hadn’t looked into it,” Collopy said.

The parent says the Buffalo Public School District, which provides transportation for the charter school, was not notified of the incident.

The city school district transportation director also contacted the mother saying they reviewed the bus video showing no child was hurt.

First Student spokesman Chris Kemper at the corporate offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, tells 7 Eyewitness News the Buffalo transportation unit “should have contacted the school district”, which would have contacted the school and parents.

“It did not happen. It should have happened,” Kemper stated.

Kemper also tells us there will be “retraining” on the protocol and procedure at that transportation site.

According to Kemper, the bus scraped the side of a parked car.

Collopy says what was upsetting as a parent was the note asking her to check her child for any medical issues. It stated, “Please observe your child to see if any problems develop as a result of this accident and seek medical services as appropriate.”

But Collopy says if the school wasn't notified, no one checked the children when they arrived and parents weren't informed until the end of the school day when their children arrived home.

CSAT spokesperson Lori Allan says the school was not notified by the city school district because First Student Bus Terminal failed to notify the district. But CSAT said it follows a specific protocol when informed of a bus crash involving its students.

“Once we are informed, we confirm any injuries to students or staff and ensure that medical attention is called if needed. Personal phone calls are then made by a CSAT school administrator to parents or guardians,” wrote Allen. “Because we were not made aware of this accident, no phone calls home was placed. As always, the safety of our students is our number one priority. In this incident we are thankful no one was injured.”