CLOVER, S.C. (WBTV) – A teenager got a heat rash on a Clover School District school bus without air conditioning on Monday, pushing the district and the South Carolina Board of Education to make changes to buses.
“They all had wet hair, drenched shirts, and then my son had a heat rash from the neck, torso and then down his legs,” Courtney Boyd, a mother of three, said.
Her son texted her from the bus complaining of burning and itchy skin.
“My daughter actually tried to open her window. She would try but she said it was like stuck and she couldn’t get it down,” Boydsaid. “They tell you not to leave a kid in the car for more than 10 minutes, you know, because of how the heat rises inside of the car. It’s the same thing on the school bus, but there’s more people. So it’s scary as a parent, you know, it’s scary.”
The Clover School District said it started the school year with one bus route with a non-air-conditioned school bus.
How hot is too hot to ride on a non-air conditioned school bus?
South Carolina doesn’t have temperature gauges on their buses or a policy for extreme weather.
District leaders said they would offer students water on the bus and ensure drivers opened windows and vents before students got on every day.
“I just worry about their safety. I know that, you know, high school sports, middle school sports have the environmental monitoring, protocols, policies. The schools have state guidelines and district guidelines for monitoring the temperature for outside activities. So, I’m thinking, ‘How can they ... don’t have anything like that for school buses when these kids?’ I mean, they can be on the bus up to 90 minutes,” Boyd said.
The school buses are owned by the state so districts have to wait for funding to come through before they see new buses.
“This is the state’s problem and it is the state’s responsibility to replace the fleet as needed,” Boyd said.
WBTV reached out to the South Carolina Department of Education to find out if there was any funding headed to the Clover School District for new buses.
South Carolina Department of Education said in the past 10 years, 4,600 buses have been replaced across the state.
As of mid-August, 92% of the state’s more than 4,500 general education buses had air conditioning, while 100% of the agency’s more than 1,000 special needs buses had AC.
The state also told WBTV good news for Boyd’s kids; three of Clover’s buses are slated to be replaced in the next month.
Boyd encouraged other parents to make sure they have proper protocol on the buses for the temperature to keep them safe from freezing from overheating.
“They do it for the sports. They do it for recess. They should do it for the school buses too,” she said.
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