A special needs bus pulls up and no parent or family member is home to receive the child. So the bus continues on, completing the route, doubling back for a second drop-off attempt. Either the student is successfully dropped off at home with a responsible individual, or the student is taken back to the school to a principal. Even more common still, is when the special needs bus driver pulls up to drop off a child, but the driver can’t verify the identity or authority of the individual waiting to receive the child.
In an attempt to cover all bases and plan for all possible contingencies, parents will sometimes list dozens of names. These lists are ever-changing, and have to be kept in dispatch and entered into the computer.
Recently, schools in Tempe, AZ, came up with a 100-percent failsafe system to ensure their special needs drivers can quickly verify the authority of the person waiting to receive the special needs child. The new procedure allows the parent to select either a four-digit PIN or a one-word code, which can be shared with family and friends authorized to receive the special needs child. So even in a pinch, the parent can call a neighbor or family member and have them wait for the bus. It’s also easy to change the PIN or code-word by completing paperwork with the driver.
A spokesperson for the Tempe schools stated it was easy to implement and schools, drivers and parents see it as revolutionary solution to a long-standing problem.