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 Monday, 27 January, 2003, 13:43 GMT
Death prompts transport safety calls
School bus generic
Calls for safer school transport have been made
Parents in a south Wales village are backing a campaign to tighten laws governing school transport following the death of a 12-year-old boy.

Stuart Rhys Cunningham-Jones from Ystradowen in the Vale of Glamorgan died in December when the school bus he was travelling in plunged off a narrow humpback bridge on the A4222.

Stuart Rhys Cunningham-Jones
Stuart Rhys Cunningham-Jones died in December

The pressure group Belt Up School Kids (Busk) are launching a national campaign to demand that the UK Government does more to prevent overcrowding on buses.

They also want children travelling on buses to have adult supervision.

Sue Zaslona is one of the Ystradowen parents involved in setting up a group to campaign locally on school transport safety.

She is so concerned about the issue that she now ferries her three children aged 18, 15 and 13 to school rather than allow them to use the bus.

She told BBC Radio Wales that the death of Stuart Rhys Cunningham-Jones had had substantial impact on the community.

The majority of parents are taking their children to school and picking them up in the afternoon

Sue Zaslona, parent

"People are still traumatised. A lot of children, in fact the majority of them have not been on school transport.

"The majority of parents are taking their children to school and picking them up in the afternoon.

"I think beside the safety of school transport, it is the safety of getting the children to school in general.

"I take my three children to school and pick them up and one of the reason is seeing the volume of children in the village getting on the bus," she added.

Pat Harris from Busk said that parents have serious concerns about the safety school transport.

We are helping the parents of Ystradowen and the surrounding areas to set up a campaign locally to deal with the issue

Pat Harris, Busk

"It's a mixture of things from overcrowding at the bus stop to children who may fall out in front of a vehicle," she said.

"Lack of adult supervision to bullying on the journey and the vehicle used.

"From a localised point of view we are helping the parents of Ystradowen and the surrounding areas to set up a campaign locally to deal with the issue.

"But on a national level, Busk - with the help of Ystradowen parents - will launch a national campaign which will include a national parliamentary petition that will focus on overcrowding trying to get one child one seat.

"Also on the fact that there are a lot of problems simply because the driver is often the only adult on board with maybe 100 children.

"So we are looking at getting adult supervision on all school transport nationwide," she said.

A statement from the Vale of Glamorgan Council said: "The council has already stated that it welcomes the national debate on school transport which has opened up in the wake of the tragic accident at Ystradowen in December 2002.

"The council is committed to playing a full and active part in that national debate and will do everything it can to ensure lessons are learned as a result of December's tragedy."

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  ON THIS STORY
  BBC Wales' Penny Roberts
"Parents want a change in legislation"

More from south east Wales
See also:

13 Dec 02 | Wales
11 Dec 02 | Wales
11 Dec 02 | Wales
05 Dec 02 | Wales
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