The “Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law” received unanimous approval by the state Senate on Friday and is now on its way to Governor Jerry Brown in hopes of becoming a law. Senate Bill 1072 authored by Senator Tony Mendoza would require all school buses in California to be equipped with a child-safety alarm that is designed to ensure no children are left aboard when a driver leaves the bus.
Hun Joon “Paul” Lee, for whom the bill is named, was a 19-year-old non-verbal autistic student who died on September 11, 2015 after being left behind on a school bus in record-breaking heat. The bus driver had given the “all-clear” that the bus was empty however, Paul’s body was discovered aboard that same school bus many hours later. The school bus driver, Armando Abel Ramirez, has been charged with one felony count of dependent adult abuse causing death and is due in court next month.
“We are thankful to the legislators who passed this bill because we believe this bill can save the lives of children,” said Eun Ha Lee, Paul’s mother, on behalf of the family. “We now ask Governor Brown to do the same as no parent should have to suffer like we have. Not ever.”
Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP and the Yun Law Firm represent the Lee family in a wrongful death lawsuit against Pupil Transportation Cooperative and the Whittier Union High School District.
The bus company admitted earlier this year during discover that it is vicariously liable for the conduct of its driver, and that the conduct of the driver was the cause of Paul’s death.
Attorney Rahul Ravipudi explained in an interview with KABC that the problem with school bus safety is systemic and “even though there are rules, there has been complacency. Children are left on buses and nothing has been done about it until now.”
Watch the KABC story here
Read the Whittier Daily News story here
Read the Los Angeles Times story here