Editor's note: this story has been updated to reflect the number of buses in the school district, and the number of buses that do not have seatbelts.

Specialized counseling services are being made available to Tom Green Elementary School students and staff following a fatal school bus crash on March 22.

Two-minute impact

Last week, a Hays CISD bus carrying 44 Tom Green Elementary preschool students and 11 adults collided with a concrete truck when returning from a field trip to the Bastrop Zoo. Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, 5, was killed in the crash, along with an adult driver behind the bus, 33-year-old Ryan Wallace. Fifty-one others were injured.

The regular school day will continue at Tom Green on March 26. Classes were canceled on March 25, and the campus was only open for crisis and trauma counseling services. These counseling services will continue this week and into the future for those in treatment, said Tim Savoy, Hays CISD public information officer.

There are two GoFundMe fundraisers in place for Ulises' funeral expenses and for unexpected expenses for the students and staff involved in the crash.

More information and other updates on the crash can be found here.

Looking ahead

District officials stated in a news release the bus involved was a 2011 model and one of the 15 buses of the district's 109 not equipped with seatbelts. The district began buying buses with seatbelts in 2017.

A handful of parents in the community are already rallying for safer bus practices, including Megan Owen, Dan Owen, Anthony Gutierrez and Sarah Gutierrez. While the regular board of trustees meeting on March 25 was postponed to a later date to be determined, the parents have requested the following actions from the trustees ahead of the next scheduled board meeting on April 15:
  • Adopt policies and procedures that immediately require any bus used to transport students for school activities—other than on routes to and from school—be equipped with three-point seatbelts.
  • Agree to identify funding sources and the best course of action, such as retrofitting existing buses or purchasing new buses, to ensure that every bus used for travel is equipped with three-point seatbelts.
  • Agree to identify funding sources and the best course of action to ensure that every bus used by Hays CISD has three-point seatbelts.
  • Establish a standing agenda item for every board of trustees meeting for the second and third actions listed until every bus used by the district is equipped with three-point seatbelts.

Officials stated in the release that purchasing buses with seatbelts will be discussed with the Facilities and Bond Oversight Committee "in consideration of potentially accelerating the normal Hays CISD bus replacement cycle."