Protecting CA children from heat exhaustion in triple-digit heat on school transportation

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Connie Hanson
Connie Hanson signed this petition

This August 2019, I received my kindergartener and second-grade daughters off the Redding school bus in triple-digit heat (reaching close to 110-120 on the bus). It was apparent my daughters were exhibiting signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion. My 5yr. and 7yr. old were completely soaked with sweat, flushed, nauseous, irritable and fatigued. I am currently a BSN student, I am very confident in my knowledge of safety concerns and effects of pediatric heat exhaustion. After the second time in in the same week arriving home this way, I was shocked to find the bus has no AC and there is little movement toward making it so. This is unacceptable in CA with rising temperatures and earlier start dates in the year. I called the local school and transportation Department and was met with little care or concern. I was informed, "there is nothing I can do and that this is just the way it is". I still have yet to hear back from a supervisor and its been over a week. I am appalled that our children's health is not of concern or worth a callback. I have since then started local a fundraiser and sought out two quotes for our children to have AC units put on our bus. I am disappointed at the cost an to ask more money out of our pockets is a slap in the face. I can not understand how in the year 2019 we are still neglecting our most precious children's health. I was informed that temperature regulation is a luxury and Im welcome to pick up my girls from school if I do not like the current circumstance. Unfortunately, this is an unrealistic solution for many north state families who work or are without transportation. I am proposing a mandatory cooling unit on CA school buses for their safety and health. Children are going to school longer hours and in hotter conditions than years past and some students are on the bus for 50-60 minutes in triple degree temps. This is unsafe. These youth are at high risk for heatstroke and ignoring heat advisories is alarming. If our children are put in unsafe conditions and continued to be overlooked parents will refuse to send their student to school. As a mother, taxpayer, and a public health advocate I pray that CA care providers demand quality environmental conditions for our youth in public schools and equip our State busses with appropriate cooling.