Ban of instruments prompted by bus safety issues
South Harrison school administrators fielded several calls during the first week of school since implementing a ban of instruments on its school buses.
During its regular school board meeting last Tuesday night, Dr. Neyland Clark, superintendent of the South Harrison Community School Corp., and assistant superintendent Jeff Hauswald addressed those concerns.
‘A law passed by the state basically addresses the safety issue of exiting school buses,’ said Hauswald. ‘Any item that would serve as an obstruction to an exit in the event a bus was on its side is viewed with suspicion.’
The law, which was a direct result of the May 14, 1988, bus crash near Carrolton, Ky., is listed in Indiana Code 188.8.131.52. It states: Whenever a school bus or special purpose bus is at a place of departure for transporting passengers, the school bus or special purpose bus emergency escape exits, doors, emergency exit windows, roof exits and service door must be free of any obstruction that (1) inhibits or obstructs an exit; or (2) renders the means of exit hazardous.
The statute does not prohibit cargo items from being carried inside the bus. It only requires that the emergency exits, and by default the center aisle of the bus, are not inhibited in any way.
Hauswald noted that the law is a point of emphasis with the Indiana State Police this year. The penalty is a Class B infraction and the penalty is up to a $1,000 fine. As a result, he said, past corporation policies had to be changed.
‘We’re taking the stance that anything larger than a flute or clarinet could not come on a bus. We spoke with our band directors at Corydon Central and South Central and other band directors around the area to see what they are doing,’ Clark said. ‘The question we have to ask is the strength of our band program worth the cost of a life in the event of an accident? If a child can hold an instrument in their lap or between their legs on the floor, we don’t necessarily have an issue with that.’
Athletic equipment also falls under the law. The days of letting shot puts, volleyballs and baseball bats fill the aisle are to be no more.
‘The rules have always been there, but state police are taking a serious look at this. It’s a safety hazard and you have to make sure you are meeting state mandates. We are continuing to try to be the most flexible and not in any way impact programs such as band, but we also want to remain in compliance,’ said Hauswald, adding that several corporation buses will have storage compartments put on the sides (between the wheels) of the buses exteriors to accommodate band trips and sporting events.
Also at the Aug. 14 meeting, Corydon Elementary School teacher Jill Timberlake made a presentation of the provisions in the federal Title I program, established by the U.S. Dept. of Education to distribute funding to school districts with a high percentage of low-income families. To qualify as a Title I school, a school typically has about 40 percent or more of its students coming from families who qualify under the U.S. Census’ definitions of low income families. Schools receiving Title I funding are regulated by federal legislation, including the No Child Left Behind Act.
Bruce Kulwicki, assistant director of the Harrison County Exceptional Learners Cooperative, pointed out that 77 percent of students targeted for summer school were on hand for the remedial work. While that’s a good figure, Kulwicki said, they want to find out why the others didn’t show up for the work.
Several personnel changes were made at the meeting. They were, by building:
Corporation ‘ Hiring of school nurse Cynthia Tyree, human resource specialist Rebecca Shartzer, and the resignation of Neal Davison (maintenance department);
Corydon Central High School ‘ Resignation of English teacher Heather Gianfagna, social studies teacher and boys/girls cross country coach Ty Guillaume and Spanish teacher Jessica Faith, and hiring of English teacher Kela Miller, social studies teacher Samantha Ingle, boys/girls cross country coach Greg Robinson and Spanish teacher Lenia Garcia (substitute teacher);
Corydon Elementary ‘ Resignation of Diana Lasky (instructional assistant in the library) and Whitney Hill (instructional assistant Title I), and hiring of physical education teacher Mitch Brown and elementary teachers Jessica Oehmann, Leann Shehorn, Katherin Hoehn and Ruth Strong;
Corydon Intermediate ‘ Resignation of kitchen helper Vickie Arms, and hiring of Amber Wischmeier (math, English) and kitchen helper Jodie McCollum;
Heth-Washington Elementary ‘ Resignation (retirement) of instructional assistant Marjorie Coffman; and
South Central Junior-Senior High ‘ Hiring of Tim Lewis (seventh-grade boys basketball coach), Brian McKnight (assistant varsity baseball coach), Bob Zumar (varsity softball coach), Cara Foreman (assistant softball coach), Leslie Simpson (junior high volleyball coach) and Lisa Hobbs (assistant junior high volleyball coach).