COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 49
July 19, 1996

ADMINISTRATIVE

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: School Bus Handrails

 
  On July 7, 1995, Dr. William C. Bosher, Jr. Superintendent
  of Public Instruction sent SUPTS. MEMO NO. 96 advising every
  school division of the hazards involving handrails and
  drawstrings on children's clothing.  Every transportation
  supervisor was advised to conduct an inspection of every
  school and activity bus transporting children to determine
  if handrails are prone to snagging, to perform safety
  recalls and to report to the Department upon completion of
  these inspections and repairs.
  
  The Honorable George F. Allen received a letter on June 5,
  1996 from Frederico Pena, the Secretary of the Department of
  Transportation underscoring the fact that in spite of all
  federal and state initiatives, some school districts are
  still operating buses with defective handrails.  Inspections
  conducted during this summer by Mr. Vince Nevius, Associate
  Specialist with the Virginia Department of Education have
  revealed Virginia school buses with defective handrails.
  
  Based on the seriousness of this problem, the Department is
  advising every school division in the state operating pupil
  transportation programs to:
  
     -    Inspect every school bus and take any bus with
          defective handrails out of service until properly
          repaired;
  
     -    Add handrail inspections to the driver's daily
          pre-trip inspection form;
  
     -    Add handrail inspections to the Preventive
          Maintenance Inspection Forms 1 & 2;
  
     -    Retrain school bus drivers on safety procedures
          for off-loading children; and
  
     -    Inform the public for greater problem awareness.
  
  Questions or concerns can be directed to Dr. Barbara V.
  Goodman (804) 225-207.
  
  aam