What's up with that? School bus windows tinted to help keep young riders cool

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On my morning jog, I noticed a lot of school buses with tinted windows. Is there a reason why they are tinting school bus windows? I know to add that option to a car costs extra. I am wondering why they would add that expense in these budget-crisis times?

—Michelle Nelson-Peninger, Vancouver

The short answer, Michelle, is it keeps those kids cool. (As if they’re not too cool for school already!)

Both Gregg Herrington at the Battle Ground school district and Pat Mattison at Vancouver Public Schools did a little digging for us, and both reported the same answer.

School buses don’t have air conditioning. It can get pretty oppressive inside a bouncing tin can full of kids on a sunny day.

Herrington said the windows on Battle Ground’s big buses aren’t tinted at all. Some of the smaller buses that transport special-education students have tinted windows.

Mattison said Vancouver’s buses are tinted to deflect sunlight — and it’s not a special order that costs more.

“They come from the factory with tinted windows,” she said. “That’s the way they make them nowadays.”

Tinting windows also adds a measure of protection and privacy for a school bus’s precious cargo, she said.

Scott Hewitt

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