During Monday’s unexpected flooding, Dallas ISD school bus driver Simone Edmond and bus monitor Tekendria Valentine had to think quickly to rescue two siblings from rushing water.
After they finished their usual route, dispatch called on the duo to assist with picking up another group of children who needed transportation. When they arrived, they found that the students had gone back home, so Edmond headed back to the bus lot. But because of flooded roads, she decided to take an alternate route.
On the drive back, Valentine noticed a child with a floatation device and initially suspected that they were playing. Things took a quick turn when she saw one child get swept up by the water current and another yelling for help. Edmond positioned the bus at an angle to try and calm the roaring waters, while the children’s father dove in to make sure his kids stayed above water.
“With my job as a special needs bus monitor, I have to stay vigilant and alert, so I was just doing my part,” said Valentine.
They sprang into action because they knew more had to be done.
“We have a bus evacuation training and certain protocols and processes in place for emergencies, but nothing to the magnitude that could’ve prepared them for this,” said Director of Student Transportation Angel Vales.
The two called the fire department for assistance, but because of the rain and flooding they couldn’t get through and had to work together to devise a plan.
Valentine and Edmond knew they had extra seatbelts on hand and began to link them together to create a rope to try and save the students and their dad. During the commotion, neighbors were able to help them form a human chain to get the rope out to the struggling kids and father and reel them in.
“I don’t really consider myself a hero. I just feel like I was doing what I needed to do at the time, and if I had to, I would do it all over again,” Edmond stated.
The whole ordeal lasted between 30 and 45 minutes and when it was all over, the children, their family, the fire department and all of Dallas ISD were so very happy and relieved that everyone was safe.
Every second counts in an emergency situation, and the district is thankful heroes like Edmund and Valentine are part of the Dallas ISD family.