Children injured on bus, where's the video?

Posted at 5:45 PM, Apr 04, 2016

Picking up her two sons from school is a trip Victoria Valderama takes every day. She passes by school buses her tax dollars paid for.

"He refused to go on the bus. Even for field trips," Valderama said of her son.

"He's scared?" NewsChannel 5 Consumer Watchdog Jenn Strathman asked.

"Yeah," Valderama explained.

A drastic change of heart for a young child whose first bus ride was picture perfect.

"Mommy hurry up we gotta go we are going to miss the bus," Valderama remembers of the first time her son rode the bus. "Such a milestone in their schooling life."

A milestone now a distant memory replaced by the memory of that day it all went wrong.

"My oldest son was holding a wad of brown paper towels to his head and they were both randomly walking down the steps in panic saying I don't know what happened," Valderama explained. "I trusted them with the security of my kids to take them to school and no one has any answers as to how my kid came home with a puncture wound to his head. Unfortunately when they pulled the video it said invalid. That no video could be pulled."

"What did you think of that?" Strathman asked.

"I think it's a waste of our tax dollars. What's the point of having cameras?" Valderama questioned.

Valderama and her lawyers tried to get answers from the school district, but says they got none.

"Just denied the claim. Your kid. Your fault. Your worry," Valderama said .

But this mom couldn't stop worrying.

"What if another kid got hurt. And it ended up happening again. Another kid got hurt," Valderama said.

Just three months later on the same Wellington bus.

"I was kind of like this. I flung off and I hit my head like really crazy hard," said Quinn Groves. "Sharp turn and busted my head right open. I didn't know why."

"And again the cameras didn't work. Someone is responsible for that," Valderama said.

Once again, no-one can explain why.

The district hasn't responded to our questions on this case. We provided them with this case and several others weeks ago before our interview with the superintendent. We still don't have answers.

Email requests didn't turn up anything on these incidents. We didn't find any incident reports either. And, they won't give us any details from the insurance claims because they are technically still pending years later. The family says they no longer have an attorney representing them. They're trying to get their medical expenses covered.

"Why don't you ride the bus now?" Strathman asked Groves.

"I guess I'm scared," Groves said. "I think they should put some security cameras in there."

More than a year after these incidents in December 2012 and March 2013, those security cameras were upgraded.

"It's actually digital," explained school bus mechanic supervisor Jose Sarmiento.

The digital system cost nearly a million dollars.

"One of the questions I have -- why did they not keep the old system?" Sarmiento said. "I never have no complaint. No complaint about that. Now they change to the new system with a new vendor. Why? I don't know? All I know is we spent all this money and now we have more problems than we used to have."

"How can you not have cameras working?" Valderama asked.

More problems with the new camera system that's been in place since the fall of 2014. So how often do these cameras fail? It's a question we've spent 10 months trying to answer. We've hit many roadblocks. Watch Document Road to see all the reasons the district gave us when we asked for records to document this problem.

Coming up at 11, whose really watching your child? We're getting answers from the superintendent.
For the latest on the school bus issues in Palm Beach County or consumer issues, follow Jenn on Facebook and Twitter.