Parents meet with school district leaders after bus crash

- For the first time since a Hillsborough County school bus crashed into a retention pond, parents got a chance to meet with school leaders in a closed door meeting.

Niko Pianetto said he asked, "How do you allow a person that's been in an accident, who's taken the exam multiple times and failed, and still hire that person and let them behind the wheel of a bus? And that's what we kept asking. What's the process? And there was no answer," he explained.

Parents wanted to know what all goes into hiring a bus driver. They'd like access to the condition of the buses in the fleet, maintenance records, driving histories and qualifications of the drivers.

Some parents said the answers to those questions were repetitive.

"It's continuously reactive, 'we're going to do that, we're going to do that, we should have done that.' Well, at the end of the day it, you can't be reactive in these situations. That's how they occur," Pianetto said.

"Of course, we want to give the parents the answers like that, but once we get all of that information, we will then have that conversation with them," Hillsborough County School Board Chair Susan Valdes said.

School leaders vowed to look into the parents' concerns, but couldn't provide specifics.

Most of the parents felt the meeting was productive.

"The thing to take away here is that they're here, they're communicating. The communication is good, and they're going to follow up," Tim Castle said.

 

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