Know: A Durham School Services school bus caught on fire when transporting Rockwood students during an afternoon route, Dec. 5.

Inform: While transporting 36 VICC students home from Lafayette High School, a school bus driver noticed that the engine of the school bus was smoking and pulled over on Interstate 44, near Lindbergh Boulevard, to evacuate the bus. The bus burst into flames just minutes later. One student had breathing difficulties from the smoke and another injured their ankle when leaving the bus.

Care: Rockwood has already begun to investigate the bus failure, meeting with Durham School Services, who provided the bus, to discuss the cause of the engine failure and how to prevent it in the future. It’s important to see the district and its transportation department invest in safety as parents trust school buses to provide transportation for 12,000 Rockwood students from West St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Louis City.


Know: After long protests, conflicts and social media campaigns, the Army Corps of Engineers decided to block a permit for a portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction, Dec. 4.

Inform: The purpose of the pipeline is to transport domestic crude oil from Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to pipelines in Patoka, IL.

The decision to block the permit came after demonstrators at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, a half mile south of where the pipeline would have been built, protested how the pipeline would intrude on land promised to the Sioux people through the Treaty of Fort Laramie and how the pipeline would poison Standing Rock’s water source. After talking to Sioux tribal leaders, Army Corps leaders decided that there was more decision-making to be done about the pipeline’s route. However, the protests to end the pipeline’s construction altogether, are not over.

Care: President-elect Donald Trump currently holds stocks in Energy Transfer Partners, who is building the pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners had promised to build the pipeline without an alternate route. One policy on Trump’s energy platform is to reduce regulations on oil, natural gas and coal to be energy independent, which is one of the leading arguments of pipeline supporters.

There are finite amounts of fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, and oil. In the case of oil and natural gas, it is possible for the generation in high school and college right now to see those fuels run out completely.

Opponents of the pipeline argue that while protests stopped the pipeline from directly affecting Standing Rock, the ruling may be reversed under Trump’s presidency. Protests are expected to continue and could be something the next President has to address if he chooses to reverse the ruling.


Know: A 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit the province of Aceh in northern Indonesia and killed at least 97 people, Dec. 7.

Inform: The earthquake destroyed businesses, mosques, homes and a large hospital in the epicenter, located in the town of Pidie Jaya. The earthquake struck early in the morning, so buildings collapsed on top of an unknown amount of sleeping civilians. There are still people trapped under rubble, so the death toll is expected to rise even more.

Care: The St. Louis area sits on the New Madrid fault line, which produced a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in 1811, the largest in U.S. history, and has a seven to ten percent chance potential of producing a large earthquake again in the future. There is no way to predict an earthquake but following an earthquake protocol plan is one way to be prepared for one.