Representative Brett Hillyer’s (R-Uhrichsville) district encompasses Northeast Ohio’s Tuscarawas Valley High School, he said he was heartbroken to hear the news Tuesday morning.
“And I don’t think enough words can express the empathy and, and, and just loss of life from, from that accident,” Hillyer said. “The reverberations from the accident, you can’t even calculate just what that will do to our community.”
The students and chaperones were traveling to Columbus to perform at the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) Capital Conference.
“The fact that they were coming down just goes to show what pride we have in our community,” Hillyer said. “And that’s why this makes this all the more devastating.”
Senator Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) said he was at the OSBA Capital Conference when he heard the news of the crash; he said it came as a shock.
“I can imagine that this was the highlight of their year and to have this happen, this is just a total tragedy for those kids and their families and the teachers and, and just everybody involved,” Brenner said. “I think everybody is in a state of mourning at this point, especially all the schools in Ohio…I think everybody has a collective sadness on this.”
Brenner and Hillyer agree, looking at safety is important.
“We have to take a look at this and make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect the students,” Brenner said.
Hillyer said while he thinks looking at things is important; he does not want to rush into bills.
“We need to wait and see what the facts show of what happened before we start passing new legislation,” Hillyer said.
The governor did create a school bus safety task force just this year, that will come up with recommendations by the end of the year. Their next meeting is on Thursday.
A spokesperson for Governor Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) said while it is premature to comment on the safety measures needed while the crash is being investigated, the working group does have the leeway to look at safety measures for charter buses, and DeWine is not restricting that.
Hillyer said he is also in contact with the governor’s office.
“We’ve been reaching out to the governor’s office to see how we can be assistance not only to the governor but also the community and certainly more will be coming shortly,” Hillyer said.