Marple Newtown School District’s Response to Opinion article, “School districts asleep at the wheel on bus safety”

The Marple Newtown School District and its Board of School Directors take the safety and security of its students very seriously.  The school district has invested, and continues to invest in technology, training, and security personnel to enhance the safety of our students in our schools, which includes transportation.

The following facts document initiatives the Marple Newtown School District has taken to improve communication and the safety and security of our students while they are being transported.

 

Marple Newtown School District GPS system is installed and functional

 

For well over a year, the Marple Newtown School District has utilized a fully functional GPS system manufactured by Synovia Solutions, LLC, which is installed in all of its transportation vehicles.  Real time tracking is utilized on a daily basis, allowing District vehicles to be located at all times.  Any insinuation that the school district does not utilize a GPS system or real time tracking system is inaccurate.

 

Additionally, the Marple Newtown School District has adopted the innovative “Here Comes the Bus” application, which will be fully functional by October 1, 2019.  This application is web based and will allow parents to see their child’s bus location from their computer, tablet, or mobile device in a fully safe and secure manner.

 

Historically, the Transportation Department experiences numerous bus route and enrollment changes during the first few weeks of the school year. These changes can be frustrating; however, they are necessary.  The school district will continue to strive to handle any and all changes in an efficient and responsible manner.

 

Emergency Notifications/Safety and Security

 

Should a serious situation occur, the drivers and office personnel refer to established emergency procedures, which have been communicated and practiced as per state and local guidelines. The Marple Newtown School District has utilized its existing parent communication system on several occasions, in the past, through the District’s student information system, Infinite Campus. Through this system, bus rosters are maintained and parents have been notified via phone calls, text messages, and emails of any serious issue or if a bus is significantly late. In addition, the school principals, secretaries, and guidance counselors have access to all bus rosters through View Finder, a sub-product of our routing software. The soon to be released “Here Comes the Bus” application will further streamline this process.

 

For the past several years, every transportation vehicle has been equipped with a two-way radio communication device.  This current school year a newly installed radio system has significantly broadened the District’s communication system to allow bus drivers to communicate with the Transportation Department throughout the Tri-State area.

 

Currently, 50% of the District’s transportation fleet is equipped with security cameras. The Marple Newtown School District has a budgetary commitment in place to equip the remaining 50% with security cameras within the next year.

 

In addition, the Marple Newtown School District has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security (TSA) and recently completed a base assessment and received high praise for its overall operations, safety, and security measures.

 

On Tuesday, October 8, 2019, at approximately 7:00 PM in the Board Room of the Marple Newtown School District Administration Building a presentation will be conducted by Jeffrey Lancaster, Transportation Security Inspector/Surface Division U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The presentation will provide an    overview of the recent safety and security assessment of the Marple Newtown School District Transportation Department by the TSA.





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