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Boley Elementary student acts quickly when bus aide collapses

Posted Date: 05/16/2024

Boley Elementary student acts quickly when bus aide collapses

The Ouachita Parish School Board recognized fourth grader Bryce Watkins at its monthly board meeting earlier this week.

Watkins, who attends Boley Elementary, acted quickly on a morning bus ride to school recently when the aide on his bus collapsed and appeared to be in physical distress.

“She was in her seat, and she just fell over,” Watkins said. “Her eyes had closed, then blood started coming out, and I got out of my seat and went over there and tried to help her.”

Ouachita Parish Schools installed cameras on the bus this school year, and Director of Transportation Waylon McCormick was able to go back and review the incident from the footage. The aide was sitting on the back row, and without hesitation, Bryce leaves his seat to help her.

“When I watched the video, he never panics,” McCormick said. “He sees that she is physically in distress and lays her over out of the seat. He doesn’t panic. He doesn’t scream. He was just absolutely on top of it. I can’t believe how calm and cool he was.”

McCormick added that due to Bryce’s composure, the rest of the bus riders did not go into panic either. However, there were a few screams.

“I told them, ‘It’s OK,’” Watkins said. “I went to tell (bus driver) Mr. Brent (Avara), and he called the firefighters to come, and they helped her.”

McCormick said that because of Bryce’s efforts, the aide is on the road to recovery, and we all wish her well. Bryce is finishing up his last week as a fourth grader at Boley in Ms. Liz Johnston’s class. He enjoys basketball and football and said his family rewarded his heroics with dinner at a restaurant.

“Bryce has always been really quiet, but always sweet,” Boley Principal Sandy Bates said. “He always wants to hug your neck. He is a really special child. He’s been with us many years, and I just adore him.”