Kennedy calls for state investigation on buses

Posted at 10:48 PM, Jan 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-26 08:40:15-05

Buffalo area State Senator Tim Kennedy is calling on the State Department of Education to investigate two separate allegations that involve sexual assault on a Buffalo City School bus.

“It is petrifying to me to think that this sort of thing can happen,” Kennedy said.


Kennedy wrote a letter to State Education Commissioner, MaryEllen Elia asking her to investigate bus operations both in Buffalo and statewide. ”We want to ensure that our children's safety is a top priority whether they're in school or whether they're being transported on school buses.”

In both sexual assault cases, neither bus had an aide on board to monitor student behavior. According to district leaders, only two-thirds of Buffalo City School buses have aides. Kennedy thinks an investigation would only strengthen the argument to put aides on all buses.

The idea isn't a new one.  he Buffalo Common Council passed a resolution in November urging the district to put an aide on every bus. According to Common Council Member Chris Scanlon, it never heard back.

He's pleased to hear Kennedy is taking this case to the state. “I think it's irresponsible to ask some who is tasked with driving a bus, getting kids to and from safely to school to also monitor the kids when there's 20, 30, 40, 50 kids riding this bus."

Putting an aide on every bus wouldn't come cheap. Scanlon said early estimates show it would cost $5 million to implement. Kennedy believes New York could foot the bill.

“There's no question in my mind that an appropriate level of funding can be utilized to ensure that those school bus aides are available and are able to be present on school buses.”




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