A Castle Rock bus driver is on administrative leave while the school district and sheriff investigate complaints about erratic driving Thursday.
The district said there is no indication of impairment, and the bus driver appears to have stopped the bus several times to address unsafe student behavior on board.
“While this appears to be an isolated incident, we are taking action and providing all of our bus drivers with extra safety training and (training) on handling difficult situations,” said Superintendent Ryan Greene. “Our students will also receive additional instruction about what is and is not safe behavior while riding our buses.”
Greene said proper protocol is being followed and the district is waiting for the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office to complete an independent review before finishing its own investigation.
The bus driver has not been named due to the ongoing investigation, Greene said, and the district is working with the sheriff’s department to review videos taken on the bus and other evidence.
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As the bus driver drove a route returning students from school Thursday, Greene said the driver “stopped the bus repeatedly because a student was exhibiting unsafe behaviors” like standing and moving while the bus was in motion, sitting on another student’s lap and being disruptive.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office was called due to the repeated stops and a deputy responded to the scene to assess the situation. The deputy found no indication the driver was impaired, Greene said.
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To “minimize further disruption” the district’s transportation director took over the route and drove the rest of the students on the bus home, Greene said.
“Castle Rock School District also met with the driver and found no indication of impairment,” Greene said. “We are investigating this incident to better understand exactly what happened and how we can create the safest environment possible on our buses in the future.”