Saturday, September 15, 2007

Student received help on the but while having seizures

When a Tippecanoe Valley student had a seizure on the school bus recently, her bus driver and schoolmates acted quickly to help her through it.At approximately 3:15 p.m. Aug. 31, Deb Howard, Rochester, was transporting Valley high school students toward Mentone to pick up the elementary school students. "I was driving down 19, heading toward Mentone," Howard said in a Thursday afternoon interview. The bus was loaded with about 20-25 students.

All of a sudden, a bunch of the students started yelling to Howard that something was wrong with a student. Student Seth Mathias, Howard said, was the first student to recognize that the student was having seizures. Howard, knowing the student was prone to having seizures, pulled into a driveway at the little woods near CRs 600 and 500.

Stopping there, she called the bus garage and let them know a student was having seizures and where the bus was stopped. Howard went back to the students to help the student having seizures. At first, Howard had the student with seizures lay down, but then the student looked like she was going to throw up. Howard had the student sit upright, with other students, including her daughter Aimee and junior Jenny Shortz, holding her up.

While Howard was in the back, senior Greg Snelling got on the bus radio. Snelling said he told the bus garage what was going on, and was told to have Howard drive the bus on to Mentone. A nurse would be waiting at Mentone for the student. Howard went back to her driver's seat and continued the bus on to Mentone while Aimee, Snelling and Shortz took care of the student with seizures."The kids on my bus worked really well together," said Howard. Snelling said during the ride back to Mentone, the students not assisting with the student with seizures sat in the front of the bus to give the student room. The student had a cell phone, but dropped it during her seizure.

Shortz picked up the telephone and attempted to call the student's mom. Not able to find a telephone number, Shortz called the student's sister instead. The sister then was able to call her mother. "It was just a matter of minutes, actually," said Howard of the 10-minute ordeal. By the time the bus got back to Mentone, the student started coming out of her seizures. Aimee went into the school to find the nurse, while Howard, Snelling and Shortz remained on the bus to help the student.

Some of the older students worked with Mentone teachers to corral the elementary school kids while they waited for the bus to be able to take them home. During the ordeal, Snelling said, "I was just kind of keeping it together, just kind of relaxed, trying to keep everyone calm." Shortz said she was panicking in her head, but she tried to remain calm. Her niece has had seizures, she said, but she said she still panicked a little bit. Howard said Shortz did just fine.Snelling said he's seen someone have seizures before, but never first-hand.

"This would be my first on a bus," Howard said. The student is doing fine now, Shortz said. "I think that on a bus that has students, and you know a student is like this, you should have a contingency plan," Howard said. She said older students who ride the bus regularly could help the bus drivers in certain situations. For being a surprise situation, Howard said the students on her bus Aug. 31 were a big help. She said, "I'm very proud of the students. They were very mature and dealt with it well."


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