The family of Hun Joon “Paul” Lee, an autistic student who died last year after being left aboard a school bus, appeared in Sacramento today to lend their voice in support of Senate Bill 1072. The bill – also known as the “Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law” and authored by Senator Tony Mendoza – would require all school buses in California to be equipped with a child-safety alarm system at the rear of the bus that can only be deactivated by the driver.
Paul’s mother, Eun Ha Lee, first spoke at a morning press conference held on the west steps of the State Capitol before testifying at the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee hearing in the early afternoon.
“Paul loved to go to school and when he took his seat on the school bus September 11, 2015, I believed he was in safe hands. But on that day, he was not safe. He was left on that hot school bus for many hours and due to the carelessness of others, my son lost his life,” said Eun Ha Lee. “Paul’s death should never have happened and I will remain vigilant that it will not be without change. When a child boards a school bus, there should never be a fear of them being left behind. Today is the first step in backing up our words with actions and I want to thank Senator Mendoza for authoring Senate Bill 1072. Knowing that this bill has been written in his name will put a smile on Paul’s face in heaven.”
Paul Lee tragically died on one of the hottest days in 2015 after being left unattended on a school bus, owned and operated by Pupil Transportation Cooperative. In February 2016, the bus company admitted in discovery that it is vicariously liable and the conduct of its driver was a cause of the student’s death.
Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP represents the Lee family in their wrongful death lawsuit filed against both Pupil Transportation Cooperative and the Whittier Union High School District. Attorneys Rahul Ravipudi and Robert Glassman of Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP both traveled to Sacramento on Tuesday to be with the family every step of the way.
“We support the Lee family in their pursuit for justice for Paul,” said attorney Brian Panish. “His death was a senseless tragedy and we will continue to fight for change in bus safety policies and procedures in order to prevent this from ever happening again.”
Click the video below to watch Eun Ha Lee’s heartfelt testimony at the Senate Transportation & Housing Committee hearing about her son, Paul Lee.