Waterloo parents speak out on bus accident - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo parents speak out on bus accident

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Parents voiced concerns Tuesday after a Waterloo school bus was involved in an accident – with children on board.

Parents say the bus company, Durham School Services, failed to notify some of them of the incident. It happened Monday at the intersection of Hawkeye and East Shaulis Road in Waterloo. According to the police report, the bus rolled through a stop sign, and pulled out in front of a minivan, which struck the side of the bus. 38 children were on board. The injured children were treated on the scene, and released.

It happened around 4 p.m.

Durham said they started notifying parents 30 minutes after they learned of the accident. They said in a statement that, “We either reached or left messages for all but one of the families of the 38 students on board the bus…”

But several parents said that’s not correct. I showed the statement to mother Jamie Van Erem, whose daughter was on the bus.

"I'm feeling warm right now, and angry because that's not true,” she said. “We were not called."

Van Erem said her daughter split her lip in the crash, and that she never heard a word from the bus company. Another mother, who said her daughter had a black eye, never got a call either. Yet another told me she took her daughter to the hospital last night with a large bruise on her head – still, no word from Durham.

Waterloo Schools said they work with Durham in situations like this, but responsibility for notifying parents ultimately falls on Durham.

School officials met Tuesday to discuss the accident.

"We were just trying as quickly as we could via Durham to communicate to parents that nothing serious had gone down," said Tara Thomas of Waterloo Schools.

The district said notification strikes a tricky balance between speed and accuracy.

Van Erem said she thinks the district and the school handled everything well – she’s just upset with Durham.

"You want to trust the system,” she said. “You want to know that your kids are safe, and it's just scary. I'm scared that something is going to happen to somebody at some point in time..."

The police report of the accident also said a video recording taken on the bus indicated the driver did not stop. The driver was cited for a stop sign violation.

If your child was on the bus, and needed further medical attention after leaving the scene, Waterloo Schools said there is a claim number set up. They said to call Durham first at 319-291-4878, but the District can also be reached at 319-433-1803.

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