Canyons School District installing new alarms on buses to help keep kids safe

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SALT LAKE COUNTY -- Canyons School District is introducing a new safety feature on their buses that’s designed to make sure students get to and from school safely, which has been a problem for the district in the past.

The new alarm system will soon be installed in every Canyons District school bus, and what appears to be a bundle of wires near the driver’s seat may help keep students safe.

The new system was put in place after several incidents during the last school year. The most recent one happened in May, when a 4-year-old boy was left alone on a bus for hours.

"There were a few instances last year, for one reason or another, that students didn't make it home or to school,” said Jeff Haney, a spokesman for Canyons School District.

The district is working hard to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"Bus drivers are to walk to the back of the bus to make sure that kids aren't hiding in a back seat or they haven't fallen asleep, we want to make sure that all kids are spotted,” Haney said.

The new alarm system is activated when the bus is turned on. An amber light and a voice alert confirm it's working.

Haney said disabling the alarm requires some extra steps on the part of the driver.

"At the end of their route, when they turn off the bus, they have to make sure they go all the way to the back of the bus and deactivate the system,” Haney said. “Now, if they don't do that within a set period of time, then an alarm will sound."

The project will cost around $30,000. By the beginning of the upcoming school year, all 80 special education buses will have the alarms. And, soon after, all 178 buses in the school district will get them.

Haney said they believe it’s a wise investment.

"We take student security and safety very seriously, and this is just one more tool we have to make sure when students get on the bus, they get to their destination safely,” he said.