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School district urges legal guardians to update contact information

A minor two-vehicle accident involving a Nye County School District bus Dec. 10 highlighted an issue the local school district deals with all too often.

Superintendent Dale Norton is appealing to parents and legal guardians to provide the most accurate contact information to the district as soon as possible.

Norton’s request was prompted when the district’s robo-call system had trouble contacting guardians after a sedan bumped the bus tire at the intersection of Barney Street and Wisteria Way.

Some parents and guardians did not receive notice until five hours later.

“The bottom line is that when parents register their children or make any changes in their phone numbers, they have to make sure they tell the school what the primary contact number is,” Norton said. “Parents should understand that the contact number is going to get called on everything that is sent out by robo-call, whether it be by the school, transportation, district, or whoever sends it.”

Norton said part of the delay occurred when the transportation department tried to notify parents who may have been away from their home phone at the time. Additionally, he spoke of the difference between regular contact information and emergency contact info.

“If it’s your cell phone number, but you don’t want to get an attendance notification, it’s still going to go to that number because the calls will always go to the primary number,” he said. “You can have an emergency contact number, but it has to be someone else. To us, emergency contact numbers are someone else. We go through a layer of numbers, but it’s going to go to that primary number first. You can’t reverse it and say ‘I want it to go to my house if it’s an attendance call’.”

However, not all the time delay was due to contact information issues. Transportation Supervisor Cameron McRae said due to the time it took for Nye County Sheriff’s deputies to complete their investigation of the accident, there was a delay in notifying parents.

“Once the seating chart was established, and we knew which of the 80-plus students who are registered to ride the bus, were on it at the time, I then made a voice-recorded robo-call informing parents indicating that the bus had in fact, been in a minor accident in the morning,” McRae said.

As a result, McRae said a few parents raised concerns about how and when they were notified of the incident.

“They had concerns over the way, means and time and distance of the notification,” he said. “The parents provide us with an emergency contact number on their transportation application, and those were the numbers that were called.”

Nye County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the scene as a second school bus was summoned to transport the students to J.G. Johnson Elementary School.

The students arrived at school about 20 minutes late.

McRae summarized what the initial investigation revealed, as the other vehicle involved, a 2012 Chevy Cruz sustained minor damage to driver’s side front quarter panel, while the school bus received no damage, other than a scuff mark on the rear tire.

“The bus was making a very slow speed left-hand turn when the tire of the bus rubbed against a vehicle that was stopped at the stop sign, which constitutes a reportable accident on our part,” he said.

“It was one of the first ones in many years where the driver is deemed at fault,” he said. “Each incident is handled based upon the nature of the incident. I’ve been here 13 years and there have been times where I called parents from my cell phone from the bus because the incident was such that, notification was appropriate. In this case, because of the nature of the incident, notification was made after I returned to the office.”

No injuries were reported among the 35 J.G. Johnson Elementary students heading to school just after 7:35 that morning.

To update contact information parents or guardians must contact the individual school.

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