David Fox, finance committee chairman of the Metro school board
It's time to do something to protect Metro's most vulnerable students.
That was the decision tonight of the Metro school board.
And they finally ordered school administrators to hire monitors for the city's special-education buses.
It follows a year-long NewsChannel 5 investigation, and our Phil Williams was there for the final vote.
It's taken at least four children being sexually assaulted by other students on Metro's special-ed buses.
But now, as a result of the board's vote, Phil says every one of those 217 buses will soon have an aide to help protect those kids on the ride to and from school.
After a year of silence, the Metro school board finally spoke, saying they want monitors on those special-ed buses.
It follows a string of sexual assaults first exposed by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
"The board gave a clear directive that we expect all these 217 special-education buses to be staffed with adult monitors as soon as they can be hired," said school board member David Fox.
Acting schools director Chris Henson told the board he's not exactly sure where he'll find the four or five million dollars to pay for it, but it will be done.
"We are going full force and hiring as many monitors as we can hire and find," Henson said.
But the question is: why did it take so long, and why did those children have to be hurt?
"It's been an educational process for the board of education -- a lot of the education came via NewsChannel 5's reporting on the issue," Fox said.
School board member Karen Johnson added, "It's unfortunate that that happened. But we cannot continue to make excuses. We have to move forward and do what it takes to ensure the safety of our students."
School officials say they will not be able to hire and perform background checks on monitors for every one of those buses by the time the school year begins.
But it is finally going to happen.
Chris Henson tells Phil that he thinks monitors will be in place on all those buses before the end of the first semester.