Public school bus safety protocols intensified in New Orleans

The New Orleans City Council plans to intensify its campaign for public school bus safety protocols amid incompliant school districts.

Strict public school bus safety protocols should be imposed

A month after New Orleans Public Schools Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. ordered all public schools to abide by the state’s public school bus safety protocols, still four public schools are unable to secure their safety permits.

Early in November, the ratio of state-permitted school bus drivers is as bad as only one out of five has a public school bus driving permit. The situation wasn’t getting better even by December, where there are only around 58% of the 740 school bus drivers have secured a state permit.

Last month, the City Council urged for a more intensified campaign on ensuring that all school bus drivers in public schools across NOLA are state-certified.

This month, the number of drivers lacking a state-certified permit wasn’t disclosed, but it came to Lewis’ attention that there are still four public schools failing to comply.

It has come to our attention that the following schools are yet to fully comply with the state’s school bus safety requirements, namely, Benjamin Franklin Elementary Mathematics and Science School, IDEA Oscar Dunn School, Sophie B. Wright Charter School, and the Warren Easton Charter High School.

New school bus regulations

The New Orleans City Council, in coordination with the Regional Transit Authority, came up with new school bus regulations last February. The following requirements are on the list to receive a state-certified permit:

  • Certificate of Public Necessity and Convenience
  • Must pass the federal criminal background check
  • 44 hours of state-approved bus driver training
  • Drug screening

The four mentioned charter schools, on the other hand, are already showing progress and is close to completion of the requirements imposed by the city council.

Since the city council took over in enforcing the licensing permits last August, the process showed significant progress and is already in full completion. By the end of the month, the NOLA City Council expects 100% compliance from all charter bus companies handling school bus services in public schools across NOLA.