L’Anse Creuse Board of Education members recognized Monday the district’s associate dispatcher who organized a mock school bus crash last month.
Michelle Metdepenningen received a “Make a Difference” award from administrators during Monday night’s board meeting at Harry L. Wheeler Community Center and Administrative Offices in Clinton Township. Her efforts provided training and information for securing and rescuing students with special needs.
At the training event, students participated by acting out a crash scenario from inside a donated school bus that had been tipped on its side. Medstar and a University of Michigan helicopter took part in the exercise, too, said Bill Bartman, transportation supervisor.
Metdepenningen said she wanted to organize a training event to make sure students are secured correctly and getting safe rides to and from school.
Bartman said, “Macomb County, especially, but really statewide, there’s really never any training like this stuff."
Although the training event was her idea, Metdepenningen gave credit to everyone behind the scenes who helped make the event a success.
“Tom Aretakis, our head mechanic, gave our fire department valuable information on actually how to cut into the bus,” she said. “The (buses) are built extremely tough.”
Board Vice President Linda McLatcher said, “It just shows you how our first responders respond. I’m just so happy that we were able to sponsor it and give our first responders that type of experience.”