Operating Procedure: HS-4-008 – Missing Student

Preamble

In the event that a student transported by HSTS is deemed missing or unaccounted for, everything must be done to determine the location of the student.

Schools will ensure that students are placed on the correct bus at the end of the school day and will ensure that the student data is kept up-to-date in Trillium, based on the information provided by the parent to the school.

Parents will ensure that the school and their child’s teacher are informed of their child’s schedule and verify the information is correct on BusPlanner Web (haltonbus.ca).

HSTS will provide the school bus operators access to BusPlanner Web to retrieve an up-to-date list of emergency phone numbers for all students.

Bus operators will ensure the student lists are secure at all times.

Implementation

The school, HSTS, the bus operator and the parent/guardian shall put forth a combined effort to locate a missing student.

STEPS TO TAKE WHEN A STUDENT IS DECLARED MISSING

Responsibilities of the Bus Driver:

1. As soon as a student is reported missing, immediately notify the school bus operator’s dispatcher by radio and give the exact location of the bus;

2. Move the vehicle to a safe place and wait for the dispatcher’s instructions. Bring the vehicle to a complete stop and keep the radio transmitter turned on;

3. Ask the students to remain in their seats and inspect the bus, looking under the seats, to determine whether the student is still on the bus;

4. Ask the students on the bus for information on the missing student:

 did the student get on the bus at the school?
 did the student get off before his/her stop?
 what was the student wearing?

5. Remain calm when speaking to the students aboard the vehicle and, if applicable, when speaking to the parent or guardian who was waiting for  the student at the bus stop;

6. Refuse to allow any adults, including parents and guardians, to board the vehicle. Do not let the other students get off the bus, except for safety or emergency reasons or if the driver is stopped at the designated bus stop for the other students; and

7. If the student is found at school, the bus driver shall inform the parent or guardian waiting at the bus stop and ask him/her to contact the school principal in order to arrange for pick-up of the student.

Responsibilities of the School Bus Operator:

1. As soon as a student is declared missing by a bus driver, contact the drivers of the other buses servicing the same school, to check whether the student may have boarded the wrong bus;

2. Contact the school immediately so that the staff can check whether the student is at school;

3. Contact HSTS to inform staff that a student is deemed missing;

4. In the event that school staff cannot be reached, contact the family to find out whether the student is at home or whether someone else came to pick up the student from school;

5. If the student is found at school, notify the parent waiting at the bus stop that their student is still at school and they must contact the school to arrange pick up;

If the student still cannot be found after the first search (phone calls made to the school and the parent or guardian of the missing student), notify the police immediately (911) and follow their instructions.

Unless otherwise directed, the next steps are as follows:

6. The bus driver will remain wherever he/she is, and a second bus will be provided to finish the route. Post the route on delays and cancellations on BP Web if it is running late or if possible notify the parents and guardians of the other students on the bus that the bus is running late;

7. Ask all of the bus drivers to keep the radio lines open and to use them only in case of an emergency;

8. Speak calmly to the bus driver and explain the procedures to follow. Bear in mind that if other students are aboard the bus, they may hear the conversation. Keep a calm tone of voice to avoid creating panic aboard the vehicle;

9. Ask all of the bus drivers in the area to remain available after their routes, if need be;

10. In the event that the student got off the bus at the wrong bus stop, ask the school if the student has a friend/classmate who lives in this area and ask the school to contact the friend’s family, if applicable;

11. If required, send someone, preferably by bus so that he/she will be easily identified, to retrace the trip in the reverse direction, from the point where the student was deemed missing. Examine the surroundings at each bus stop;

12. Maintain contact with the school principal, HSTS and the police during the search;

13. Immediately notify the school principal, HSTS and the police if the student is found, so that the search can be stopped; and

14. Submit a written report to HSTS within 24 hours of the incident, explaining the facts and reasons for the incident.

Responsibilities of the School Principal:

1. Ask the school staff to check the school premises, including the washrooms and schoolyard; if student is found, inform the bus operator and HSTS;

2. Ask the staff member who was supervising the loading zone when the students boarded the bus, to check whether the missing student did indeed get on the bus;

3. Ask the student’s teacher, or the staff member in charge when the students  boarded the bus, to provide an accurate description of the child’s clothing that day and forward this information to the school bus operator and HSTS;

4. Contact the family to find out whether the student is at home or whether someone else came to pick up the student from school;

5. In the event that the student could have departed the bus at a different bus stop, attempt to contact the student’s friends/classmates who reside in the area or who ride the same bus;

6. Stay at school and remain in constant contact with the school bus operator and HSTS until the student is found; and

7. Contact HSTS in order to notify them that the student has been found, so that the search can be stopped.

Responsibilities of HSTS:

1. Maintain contact with the school bus operator, the school and, if applicable, with the police and parents or guardians, until the student has been found;

2. Assist the bus operator and the school; act as liaison between the school and the bus operator;

3. Contact the other bus operators who service the school to see if they may have the student on board their vehicle;

4. If possible, request the other bus operators to assist by asking available drivers to travel through the area to look for the student;

5. If school staff cannot be reached, HSTS will make every effort to contact the Principal or Superintendent of the school and the school bus operator will make every effort to contact the parent/guardian and maintain communication until the student is found; and

6. Ensure that an Incident report is submitted, outlining the details of the incident.

Reviewed: September 2016
Operating Procedure: HS-4-008 – Missing Student