WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — School districts across central Texas have been working on ways to keep students safe and accounted for while on the bus.The Round Rock Independent School District just rolled out their full fleet of Smart Tags.​  Austin ISD uses the Where’s the Bus App.​  Meanwhile, a central Texas dad believes he has the next tool districts can use. ​  “They said it was just delayed, making sure other kids get dropped off on time, which is understandable,” said Daniel Griggs, CEO at ATX the brand. “As a parent, I’m kind of freaking out.” view article arw

ATHENS, Texas (KLTV) - Lawyers for the former Athens ISD school bus driver charged in a fatal bus crash want to talk to the engineers of the train involved in the collision.  Attorneys for John Stevens, 78, of Mabank, filed an application with the court seeking to depose the two Union Pacific engineers who were controlling the train the day of the crash.  “We’ve been denied the ability to speak to the engineers, to interview them about the events before, during, and after,” said Justin Weiner, one of Stevens defense attorneys. “We felt it was very important to do that based on the information from the digital event recorder, or black box, showing the train was speeding in violation of the Athens municipal ordinance.” view article arw

Klein ISD students laughed and chatted with staff and teachers while covered in fake blood smeared on their faces and fake bones made to look like they were sticking out of their skin.  The students boarded a school bus on its side before professionals with Klein Fire Department, Cypress Creek EMS and Harris County Hazardous Materials response team came to rescue them in full force. view article arw

One person was killed Friday after crashing into a Waller Independent School District bus near Hockley, according to deputies. The crash was reported about 8:30 a.m. on FM Road 2920 at Hunters Creek Way. view article arw

ALTON – Fire investigators are on the scene after a school bus erupted into flames Monday afternoon in Alton.  A La Joya Independent School District school bus caught fire around 5:15 p.m. near Moorefield Road and Maxine Drive.  Nine students were on board at the time of the fire, according to La Joya ISD police. No injuries were reported.  CHANNEL 5 NEWS is told the driver acted quickly to get the students off the bus.  Hidalgo County Fire Marshal’s Office is assessing the damage. La Joya ISD police believes it’s likely a mechanical issue.  This is not the first time a La Joya ISD school bus has caught fire. view article arw

Editor’s note: This is the last in a four-part series profiling local bus drivers for National Love the Bus Month.  When teacher Terry Warr got her commercial driver’s license to drive a bus in 2004, she made it clear to her assistant principal at the time it was so she could help drive the cheerleaders.  She specifically told him, “I do not want to drive a route. I’ll drive field trips for you, but please don’t put me on a route,” she said. view article arw

A Comal ISD bus driver has been put on unpaid administrative leave after she was accused of assigning specific seats on the bus by race, the school district said. The unnamed employee drove bus 420 for Danville Middle School, said Comal ISD spokesperson Steve Stanford. The district opened an investigation after the transportation department received several phone calls about the bus driver after the incident. Stanford said it was a one-time incident that occurred Monday view article arw

COMAL COUNTY, Texas — A middle school bus driver is on administrative leave after allegedly separating students by race.  According to an email sent to parents of students at Danville Middle School in Comal, the school is investigating allegations that the driver of bus 420 assigned students to specific seats based on their race. view article arw

Top LYS Tweets – February 24, 2020

February 2508:30 AM

f you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS tweets from the past week when they were first posted.  And if you are on Twitter, you might want to check out the Tweeters who made this week’s list.  Here’s the secret to building relationships: Actually like kids. That’s it. No fancy handshakes, no dancing and singing like a fool every morning. That stuff is for show and kids know it. Just like kids. It’s easy. And if you don’t, find something else to do. (By @ModestTeacher) view article arw

Round Rock ISD's Transportation Department will finish the rollout of its SMART Tag bus transportation program to all 54 campuses in the district March 4, district staff confirmed in a Feb. 21 email to Community Impact Newspaper. The program allows parents of district students to monitor their children's bus transportation activity in an effort to help promote student safety and security. view article arw

When Jerry Dillard retired from Hallsville ISD, he was only beginning his next role in the district. Despite his 2016 retirement after 37 years of working for the district, Dillard still serves as a substitute teacher and bus driver. He also helps drive for the University of Texas at Tyler Innovation Academy in Longview when they need someone for field trips. view article arw

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A Conroe ISD bus crashed Friday morning with students on board.  Authorities said the crash happened just after 7 a.m. when the bus was traveling westbound on FM 2090 at Philmore.  The bus driver was picking up Crighton Elementary School students and had the bus stop sign activated.   A pickup truck driving eastbound stopped for the bus, but a male driver in a Mazda driving behind the pickup didn't see the truck stop.   The driver slammed into the back of the pickup, causing it to hit the bus and then slide into a ditch. view article arw

A $105,000 budget provision was approved for the replacement of a band trailer, which stores the band's instruments, during the Lake Travis ISD board of trustees meeting Feb. 19. Funding was previously allocated within the district’s 2018 bond program.  The current trailer was purchased about 10 years ago and will be auctioned off by the district, according to Johnny Hill, assistant superintendent for business, financial and auxiliary services. view article arw

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The Round Rock Independent School District is expanding its test program for tracking school bus riders district-wide.  The ‘Smart Tag’ program uses scannable identification cards to monitor who’s getting on and off school buses. view article arw

BRADY, Texas — A remote bus stop on a rural stretch of highway in Central Texas has been discontinued after public pressure brought two school districts to agree on a temporary transportation agreement.  From August 2019 until January 2020, about 25 students in the Brady area attending Lohn ISD were regularly brought to the intersection of US Highway 283 and County Road 166 in McCulloch County.  Twice a day, as students got on and off the bus to Lohn, semi-trucks passed at speeds up to 75 mph a few feet from the narrow shoulder where parents parked. view article arw

Officials are on the scene of a two-vehicle wreck involving a school bus. The wreck happened on Highway 64 near County Road 4134 D and involved a West Rusk ISD school bus. Rusk County Sheriff’s Office has verified there are no injuries but there is road blockage. view article arw

KATY,Texas (KTRK) -- A mother is suing Katy ISD after she says her son who has special needs was pressured into a sexual act while on the school bus.  "Parents need to know this happened in this school," she said. The mother says it happened during the fall of 2018, on her son's way home from Katy ISD's Franz Elementary. He was 8 years old at the time and diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, and dysgraphia, among other disabilities. She says he was pressured by a 5th grader to perform oral sex. view article arw

BASTROP, Texas — A driver was airlifted to a hospital Thursday afternoon after crashing with a nearly-empty school bus in Bastrop County.According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, a Subaru was driving east on FM 535, approaching FM 20. DPS said the driver of the Subaru drove through the stop sign on FM 535 and hit a school bus. view article arw

Over 260 buses hit the streets every morning to take Killeen ISD students to school, but Special Operations Manager Deejay Jennings says it still isn't enough. "You have to look at having extra drivers in the event someone calls in ill," Jennings said. view article arw

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — Leander ISD parents learned how to keep their children safe when they browse the internet.  It’s thanks to the “Be Internet Awesome” program. Leander ISD received a grant from Google and the National PTA to introduce the program, which was created by Google. It aims to help kids make safe choices on the web. It also answers parents’ questions about keeping their kids safe online. view article arw

Round Rock ISD is investigating after a four-year-old with special needs went missing. Matthew Puebla was upset when his daughter Isabella didn’t get off the bus. He said he couldn’t get a straight answer from the driver or bus assistant. view article arw

HEREFORD, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Hereford ISD is reporting a morning bus crash.  Officials say a bus was traveling westbound on Union Street at the intersection of Union and Avenue E.  A vehicle stopped at Avenue E then drove into the intersection and hit the bus. view article arw

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- An HISD school bus carrying four people, including a student with special needs, caught on fire in southwest Houston.  It happened on West Bellfort and South Post Oak Wednesday afternoon.  The bus driver told ABC13 the bus was carrying a total of four people, including himself.  He said there was a nurse, an attendant and a student with special needs in a wheelchair. The driver said they had to lower the ramp to get the student out. view article arw

LINDALE, Texas (KETK) – As thousands of students ride the bus to and from school every day, Lindale ISD is finding ways to improve communication in case of emergencies.  The school district introduced the new system, ‘FirstNet’ which is designed to connect bus drivers and the main operations with a simple touch of a screen. view article arw

A Richardson Independent School District bus driver who goes the extra mile in his job is sharing his efforts with other school districts across Texas.  Jenkins' bus route isn't just about driving kids too and from school, it's about building a community. "My passion, really, as is all about making a change," Jenkins said.  While riding Jenkins' bus, each kid gets a community role -- like police officer or judge -- which helps the children learn and then they share what they learn with the rest of the bus. view article arw

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Curtis Jenkins doesn’t want the notoriety.  The north Texas bus driver just wanted to help the kids he drove to and from school each day. He ended up reshaping the culture of Richardson ISD.  The district hired Jenkins nearly a decade ago when he was in his mid-thirties and had his commercial driver’s license.  He learned each kid’s name and bought them personalized presents, and occasionally surprised them with turkey dinners view article arw

After several bus drivers within Manor Independent School District called in Monday morning, busloads of students were delayed in getting to their campuses. Manor ISD confirmed to KVUE that six buses had to make up for the routes of the absent bus drivers. A total of 10 drivers could not show up for work. According to Director of Communications Angel Vidal, two of the bus drivers called out sick and the rest were out for personal issues. view article arw

CARTHAGE, Texas (KLTV) - The Carthage Police Department is asking for information on a silver 4x4 pickup that hit a Carthage ISD school bus on U.S. Highway 79 Thursday and then fled the scene Thursday afternoon.  “No one was hurt,” said a Carthage ISD spokeswoman. " “[There were] only three students on the bus. Silver truck hit it and kept going.”  According to a post on the Carthage ISD Facebook page, the wreck occurred near Bethlehem Baptist Church. view article arw

ROCKWALL — The Rockwall Police Department is investigating a Rockwall Independent School District bus driver after finding the driver had reportedly taken improper video of female students on the bus.  The police department was notified by school officials of a complaint that the bus driver, Michael Paul Smith, was taking improver video of children. view article arw

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Dallas ISD parent wants action after seeing video of her 5-year-old daughter being attacked on a school bus.  Audrey Billings said the video clearly shows two children assaulting her daughter on the bus. view article arw

ROCKWALL, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Rockwall Police Department was notified by officials with the Rockwall Independent School District of a complaint of a school bus driver who had allegedly taken improper video of children on his bus route. view article arw

A mother is demanding a Dallas ISD school bus driver be fired, claiming he heard her 5-year-old daughter’s cries for help on board his bus and did nothing.  Audrey Billings said video released to her after she paid a $600 fee shows her daughter being attacked by three older, bigger students.  Bilings' 5-year-old daughter Alexis' smile turned to cries for help in early November 2019, leaving her mother seeking the truth about what happened for weeks. view article arw

The Williamson County Board of Commissioners approved the spending of $2.03 million for the purchase of 21 buses for Williamson County Schools at its Jan. 13 meeting. The purchase comes at a time when the school system is dealing with a shortage of bus drivers, according to WCS Superintendent Jason Golden.  “I’ve been sent emails and also photographs of buses where students are standing due to a lack of bus drivers,” County Commissioner Keith Hudson said during the meeting. “I would like to know what we are doing to recruit more bus drivers because we are getting into a safety issue with the children standing.” view article arw

A Nacogdoches ISD bus was involved in a crash on Tuesday morning. The bus was involved in a wreck on Southeast Stallings Drive near University Drive. High school students were on the bus at the time of the crash. None of the students were injured. They were checked out by EMS and then taken to the high school. view article arw

Georgetown ISD will replace nearly a quarter of its fleet with clean-energy propane buses by the end of January, according a Jan. 9 news release.  With voter-approved 2018 bond money, the district purchased 21 propane buses to replace those nearing the end of their useful life. GISD was also able to purchase an additional 12 buses with $1.3 million in added grant funds from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, totaling 33 buses.  “Every decision we make is student-centered,” GISD Superintendent Fred Brent said in the release. “By utilizing grant opportunities and cost-efficient alternatives for transportation, we’re able to provide a cleaner, healthier way to get kids to and from school, while directing the savings into other opportunities that support teaching and learning.” view article arw