Group calls on Department of Education for air-conditioned buses that carry special-needs students

Group calls for air conditioning on buses carrying special needs children (7/11/14)

NEW YORK - A group comprised of city leaders and concerned parents is calling for air conditioning on public school buses.

Public advocate Letitia James was part of a press conference in Lower Manhattan that called on the Department of Education to install air conditioning on all yellow school buses, specifically ones that carry special-needs students.

James says that buses equipped with air conditioning would help the 23,000 District 75 special-needs students.

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According to James, some of the students are nonverbal and travel nearly two hours back and forth from home to school, and would be unable to signal that they are in distress on a hot bus.

Ahjaah Jewett, a 13-year-old with autism, says her ride home last Thursday felt like a sauna, and she had to call 911 to be taken to a local hospital.

The DOE responded by saying that the safety of its students is its top priority, and that inspectors are out in the field to make sure adequate accommodations are made for special-needs students. It says that once an individual education plan requiring air conditioning for a student is finalized, it will comply within five days.

Parents and supporters say that when they call the DOE, the process of getting air conditioning on buses is quite difficult.

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