Interpretation's Date: February 25, 1991
by superintendent Henry Marockie
Section: IX. Other
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Basil Legg
FROM: Bill Toussaint
DATE: February 25, 1991
1. Boone County Assistant Superintendent, Joe Tagliente, asks, whereas a school board may provide transportation for its own students, the participants in 4-H; and also, for the Commission on Aging, may a school board allow others to be transported such as:
(a) Parent Volunteers/Chaperones,
Statutory law does not answer any of these questions although W.Va. Code 18-20-2 is helpful. Nevertheless, since a student can be transported by public school bus to and from school,1 and since parents can volunteer their services2 , statutory law does not appear to forbid any of these proposals either.
State educational policy in Rule 4336-VI, item number 2,3 moreover, can support these proposals, vis. --
"The school bus operator may transport only pupils who are enrolled, or are to be enrolled, in school, an employee of the county board of education or a person approved by the board."
1 According to Code 18-5-13(6,a) d (6,b).
2 Although Code 18A-5-1 no longer mentions volunteers.
3 State of West Virginia School Transportation Regulations.
Special Education law and policy are more specific about this than general law and policy. W.Va. Code 18-20-2 requires the county boards of education to provide special services--including transportation--for exceptional children (as defined by Code 18-20-1). However, Rule 2419-1.84 appears to very clearly distinguish proper parental roles from the roles proper to school personnel. It appears to say no to all of these questions as far as provision of services by parents to their children on a school bus is
concerned, although it does not appear to proscribe transportation of parents
by school bus.
Therefore, the answer to each of these questions appears to be yes for the parents of regular education students, but the answer to each of these questions appears to be no for the parents of special education students where they would travel to help their exceptional children--absent an interpretation of Special Education Policy 2419-1.8 saying yes. No such STATE SUPERINTENDENT'S INTERPRETATION has been found. Policy simply assumes--and perhaps prefers--that employees (aides and bus operators) take care of exceptional children while they are aboard a school bus, and neither it nor statute seems to address the transportation needs of some of the parents.
Reviewing each question:
(a) W.Va. Code 18-5-13(6)(a & b) is silent; Code 18-20-2 could allow transportation of parent volunteers or chaperones by public school bus; Rule 4336-VI (2) would allow this; Rule 2419-1.8 authorizes use of a trained aide to help the bus operator with exceptional children aboard the bus, instead of parents (the parents' use is at the bus stop and between home and the bus stop).
(b) Mere transportation of parents to and from school conferences appears supportable by all four precepts.
(c) Rule 2419-1.8 appears to forbid this, although not expressly,
by having the trained aide and bus operator help the exceptional child
aboard the bus, and by having the parent help the child at the bus
stop and between there and home. Furthermore, W.Va. Code 18-5-22
requires that a person who suctions a trachea be trained to do it
(d) The answer to this question about a parent's accompanying a
child to counseling can be answered either by (a) or (b), depending
upon whether the parent would help the child while aboard the bus or
simply travel with it.
(e) The answers to similar situations should come from the
answers to (a) through (d).
4 Regulations for the Education of Exceptional Students.
2. The Board of Risk and Insurance Management5 assures me that volunteers are protected by the liability insurance of W.Va. Code 29-12-5a and that fleet insurance is included in this liability protection.6 On the other hand, volunteers are not protected by Public Employees Insurance.7
5 Their telephone number is 348-2291, and their fax number is 248-0154; their address is 307 Jefferson Street, Charleston, West Virginia 25305.
6 If a parent drives her/his own car on school board business, then liability
insurance coverage must come first from the parent's own automobile
insurance policy, after which it can come from fleet insurance per
7 The statement in W.Va. Code 5-16-2(4) that: "Any matters of doubt as to who is an employee within the meaning of this article shall be decided by the director [of PEIA]." refers to substitute service personnel, for example, rather than to volunteers. Cf. Barbara Beane, PEIA, 348-7850.