Positive Changes After School Bus Scare

Positive Changes After School Bus Scare


Thermal, CA

This 11-year-old autistic boy woke up to a nightmare. He was left on a school bus in 2014, video only surfaced recently. He’s visibly scared, confused and is heard crying and calling for help. Another bus driver found him a half hour later. 

Since that traumatic day, the Coachella Valley Unified School District says they’ve been taking action. 

Apolonio Del Toro, the new transportation director says he saw the video, "Watching the video was gut wrenching, looking at that incident it’s really a reminder of what not to do." 

But even before he saw the video, he heard about the incident years ago, it pushed  him to make a change from public transportation to students.

"It’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here, I wanted to come here and evoke positive change and turn this around where you know we’re the envy of the school bus transportation in California," says Del Toro.

With a fleet of 96 buses that take 45 hundred students to and from school everyday from west Indio, to north shore and even Chiraco Summit, that’s a tough task.

"That’s a huge, vast area to cover," says Del Toro.

A state law already requires bus drivers to check every seat before they leave the bus but CVUSD is going to use technology to take that to another level in 2018.

"There will be a phone app for parents to know where their children are when the bus got there, also we’re going to be the first one to pilot for this software vendor the mandated requirement  … having the button in the back and reporting … and we’re going to be the first one in California to have that," says Del Toro.

He says the changes this event has brought about remind them of their purpose 

"This whole department it weighs on us but, it’s a reminder of why we’re here," says Del Toro.