Summer weather can include excessive, and dangerous, heat. In many parts of the country, the heat doesn’t dissipate just because a new school year has started. Does your child’s school bus have air conditioning? It is very important that parents find out the answer to that question.
Last Summer, there were several parents in New York who were alarmed because their child’s school bus did not have air conditioning. The children were attending a Summer school program that was designed for students who had special needs. The kids were coming home drenched in sweat.
The parents were upset because their kids rode the bus, every school day, for extended lengths of time. Some were on the bus for over two and a half hours. This could be due to the route the driver was assigned to take, or because a child had to sit on the bus and wait for another school to let out so the driver could pick up some students who attended that school.
Hot Summer weather doesn’t magically disappear just because a new school year has begun. School busses that do not have air conditioning can reach dangerously high temperatures. This could lead to a child overheating, or even experiencing organ failure. Kids that have special needs that involve communication difficulties are unable to let the bus driver know when they get too hot.
This year, school bus drivers in Tennessee are very concerned about the high temperatures inside school busses that do not have air conditioning. They are reporting the inside temperature to reach 108 degrees, 111 degrees, and even as high as 115 degrees.
Obviously, these aren’t safe temperatures for anyone to experience, and especially not for an extended length of time! The drivers are concerned both for themselves and for the students they will be transporting. In Tennessee, it seems that there are budgeting issues, and the schools cannot afford to retro-fit all of the school busses with air conditioning.
In most cases, a school will not alert parents that their child is riding a bus that lacks air conditioning. Parents are going to have to specifically ask about it. Another way to find out if your child is being safely transported in safe temperatures is to ask him or her if the bus was hot.
Kids who are non-verbal cannot directly tell their parents if they got too hot. In these cases, parents need to closely look at their child right after she gets off the school bus. Is her clothing drenched in sweat? Is her hair soaked with sweat? Does your child seem especially lethargic and unfocused? These are clues that the bus did not have air conditioning.
Image by KB35 on Flickr