Commemorating the one year anniversary of Senate Bill 1072’s inception, Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Cerritos) welcomed the parents of Hun Joon “Paul” Lee to his Cerritos office on Thursday and presented them with a replica of the bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown. Eun Ha Lee and Sang Sik Lee worked closely with Senator Mendoza in creating the bill named after their son, Paul Lee, who died aboard a Whitter school bus in September 2015.
“I wanted to present this gift as a reminder of the work we did together to make this bill a reality,” Senator Mendoza told the parents, adding, “You have shown tremendous strength and courage through this process.”
Signed into law on September 27, 2016, the “Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law” requires all school buses in California to be equipped with a child-safety alarm system in the back of the vehicle that must be turned off by the bus driver, ensuring the driver checks each seat. Bus drivers will also be required to receive training in child-safety check procedures upon renewal of their annual school bus driver safety certification. The law will go into effect beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.
Hun Joon “Paul” Lee was a 19 year old non-verbal autistic student who died after being left behind on a Whittier school bus in September 2015. The bus driver had returned the bus to the yard and given the “all-clear” that is was empty before leaving for the day. However, when Paul failed to return home from school on one of the hottest days of the year, his body was discovered more than seven hours later aboard that same bus parked at the Whittier Union High School District lot.
Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP and the Yun Law firm represent the Lee family in a wrongful death lawsuit against Pupil Transportation Cooperative (PTC) and the Whittier Union High School District.
Trial is scheduled to begin on May 15, 2017 in Norwalk, CA.
To read the Whittier Daily News story, click here