Substitute bus driver fired

Driver allegedly got into a verbal altercation with elementary school students

A substitute bus driver for the Washougal School District has been fired after he got into a verbal altercation with students on the afternoon of May 23.

The district reported the incident and the driver to the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, which oversees standards for the state’s bus drivers.

Allegedly, the driver was unfamiliar with the route and accidentally went the wrong direction. The students became agitated and the driver allegedly began yelling at them and running the heat in the bus, although the weather was warm that day.

The Washougal Police responded to the incident and agreed with the district that it was in the best interest of all involved to return the bus to Hathaway Elementary School.

“Washougal administration and transportation staff became involved and made every effort to comfort the students on the way home,” said Washougal School District Superintendent Dawn Tarzian, in a May 30 letter to parents.

She added that the district is committed to providing safe transportation for all students.

“I want to apologize for the incident and any stress or anxiety that was caused to children that afternoon,” Tarzian said. “Your child’s safety is our top priority and we will continue to make sure that they feel safe on the bus they ride.”

All drivers, including substitute drivers, must pass a criminal record check and receive training before they are allowed to drive students to and from school.

“Upon investigation, it was determined that the driver should have handled the situation differently…and will no longer be substituting for Washougal School District,” Tarzian said.