SANDY — The Canyons School District announced policy changes are being implemented to increase student safety following allegations against a bus driver on trial for alleged sexual abuse of two girls with special needs.

Parents of special needs students are now asked to assist their children in getting on the bus and fastening the five-point seat belts that are used, according to district spokesman Jeff Haney. When the bus arrives at the school, aides will get on the bus and help the kids exit so bus drivers will not have to assist the students.

"The parents play a role with the district in making sure that the students are safely put on the bus, and (they now can) have peace of mind in knowing that the students are there, that they're safe and they've been placed on the bus appropriately," Haney said.

Historically, the district has reviewed surveillance footage from cameras on buses only when concerns were raised, according to Haney. But the district plans on viewing footage from each bus on a regular basis.

"What's new this year is we've repositioned those cameras to make sure that we have good looks at what's happening inside the bus at all times," he said. "Also, we are doing regular checks of the surveillance footage so that we have somebody looking at the footage to make sure that we really are monitoring what we capture on the surveillance cameras."

Haney said the district has met with parents in determining what actions to take in improving student safety to and from school.

Former Canyons School District bus driver John Martin Carrell, 61, was charged last month with 33 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony, in two separate cases. An arraignment was set in Carrell's case for Sept. 9.

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