Revised Head Start policies, job descriptions and corrective actions were unanimously approved by the Franklin Parish School Board at its regular meeting held Jan. 7.
The moves came in response to a three-year-old being left on a Franklin Parish Head Start school bus for nine hours on Nov. 18.
After the child did not return from school that afternoon, his guardians called the school and was told he was reported absent. After school officials had been notified, the child was found on the bus.
The next day the bus monitor was terminated with a second monitor and driver suspended without pay, according to Head Start Corrective Action Plan documentation.
Under the revised plan, Head Start school busses will be staffed with a bus monitor and driver who reports to a transportation manager and Holly Sartin, Head Start director.
Monitors are required to keep a transportation log showing an accurate time daily of students going on and off the bus. They must conduct a bus check after all students exit and sign the document saying the check has done for the morning and afternoon. After completing the transportation log, it must be turned in daily to the transportation manager to be cross-checked with the absentee report.
Additionally, bus drivers must conduct a bus check after all students have exited the bus and sign off saying the transportation log has been completed for the morning and afternoon load, according to Head Start job descriptions.
When the student is delivered to the Head Start center, a designated staff person will be present to write down the time the student is released to them on a student arrival / departure log, according to the program’s transportation plan.
Children will also be delivered to a responsible person authorized in writing by the parent or guardian when returning home, according to the program’s transportation plan.
Parents are responsible for meeting the bus monitor and their child in the morning and afternoon. If the parents are not present to meet their children, they will be returned to the Head State Center.
Under the revised plan, a child that is transported to and from school in a private vehicle must be signed in at the front office no earlier than 7:30 a.m. and no later than 8 a.m.
In the afternoon, a child must be signed out at the front office no later than 2:15 p.m. by the parent or authorized person.
Meanwhile, Richard Kelly will serve as School Board president and Jacqueline Johnson as vice president after being elected concurrently by their peers.
School Board member Alaina Nichols made the motion with a Johnson second to elect Kelly.
School Board member Tim Eubanks made the motion to elect Johnson with a Nichols second.
Serving another annual term as chaplain is School Board member Danny Davis. He was elected with a Nichols motion, Eubanks second and unanimous vote.
Meanwhile, newly-elected Franklin Parish schools superintendent John Gullatt presided over his first School Board meeting at the end of his second day on the job.
“It’s a learning curve for me,” Gullatt said. “It will take the rest of this week to get up to speed. I’m glad to be here, and I’m going to start getting out.”
Gullatt said he planned to visit schools starting Jan. 8.