The following is a statement that can be attributed to Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr., Superintendent of NOLA Public Schools:
Yesterday, there was a bus accident involving students from a NOLA-PS school. This incident is deeply troubling. Especially given that we have children who were harmed. We can confirm that all students were discharged from area hospitals yesterday.
Upon learning about the accident, NOLA Public Schools officials were immediately dispatched to the scene of the accident and to support students and families.
The bus involved in the accident was operated by Hammond Transportation. The bus had not passed inspection and the driver was not permitted to be driving the bus.
We have worked since last spring to ensure school-based staff were informed on the City’s inspection process through trainings, have instituted new procedures on our compliance checks, and have brought schools, bus operators and city officials together to problem-solve as challenges have arisen this fall. However, it is clear it has not been enough. We must do more to ensure the safety of our students.
Therefore, I have directed my team to explore options the district can take to increase bus safety, including, but not limited to, allowing only the highest quality bus operators to service our students, implementing additional policies around transportation, and demanding that schools and their bus providers actively work with the City to get buses inspected and compliant as the re-inspection process for buses starts again in February.
My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the students and families that were involved in yesterday’s incident. I want to let our families know the district will do all we can to work with the City and schools to make certain buses are inspected and operators are in compliance with City ordinances and board policy.
The safety of our students is a top priority, and we must provide safe transportation for our students.