Beginning September 1, school children with disabilities will have new protections after legislation sponsored by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) was signed into law. The new law will permit the maintaining of personal, medical and emergency contact information regarding disabled students on school buses in an effort to allow assistance to be rendered, if necessary, in the event of an emergency.
According to Senator Fuschillo, all school buses on a regularly scheduled route may, with the parent’s consent, maintain information regarding disabled passengers including the name of the child, the nature of their disability and the name and contact information of their parent or guardian. The child’s disability need not be permanent and the disability could be either mental or physical in nature.
In the event of an emergency, being able to access this information will permit emergency personnel to adequately deal with a situation. If a child is unable to communicate, the access to this vital date will alert respondents to any unforeseen conditions and will lead to greater protection for students.
To safeguard the privacy of the student, the parent or guardian must give their consent to this gathering of information. Additionally, the information would only be accessible by the bus driver, a teacher or, in certain circumstances, responding emergency personnel.
This information will be updated at least once a school year and will be destroyed if the parent or guardian rescinds consent, if the disabled child is longer a passenger on the particular bus or if the disability no longer affects the child.
"Many parents put their children on a school bus everyday and everyday their children arrive home as safe as when they left. But on the unfortunate occasion when a child suffers a medical emergency while riding the bus, any time lost is too much. This new law will give bus drivers, teachers and emergency personnel the opportunity to better protect the children they are charged to look over and will lead to better protection for our children," concluded Senator Fuschillo.
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