School board approves $800,000 settlement for Herrera family - FOX 13 News

School board approves $800,000 settlement for Herrera family

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The Hillsborough County School Board approved a settlement Tuesday for the parents of Isabella Herrera.

She's the 7-year-old girl who died after a medical emergency on a school bus two years ago.

During the ride home from Sessums Elementary School, Isabella started having medical problems.

Neither the driver, nor an aide, called 911. Instead, they called her mother and radioed to dispatch, which followed protocol.

Surveillance video taken from the bus showed the aide screaming into the phone that Isabella was turning blue. She died the next day in the hospital.

The settlement total is $800,000.

"No amount of money is going to bring my daughter back to me," Bella's mother, Lisa Herrera, told reporters after the meeting. "I just miss having her here. She was just a regular little girl who just happened to not be able to walk."

One school board member voted against the settlement: April Griffin said the amount was not enough.

Several board members offered apologies and promises.

"Nothing we can do can bring your child back or compensate for that loss...We are sorry," Candy Olson said.

"We will get this right," said Susan Valdes. "We cannot afford to lose not one more child because no money can replace that little one."

Thomas Gonzalez, an attorney for the school board, said the case was winnable for the district but, after certain board members made public comments, a settlement became necessary.

"Had it not been for those statements, there would have not been a recommendation to settle this case," Gonzalez said.

Bella's death has brought changes, the district has said. Drivers go through more training and are now told to call 911, in addition to radioing dispatch during an emergency. Board members said they're still working on making sure this doesn't happen again.

Lisa Herrera, meanwhile, said they're not doing enough.

"It's a lot of talking and not a lot of doing," she said.

The settlement still needs to be approved by a judge. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

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