Heights Elementary parents not happy with their kid’s school bus driver

Heights Elementary parents not happy with their kid’s school bus driver »Play Video
Clarkston School District Bus.
CLARKSTON, WA - Parents from a local elementary school are speaking out against a Clarkston School District bus driver.

"I was blown away by the question," said parent Prudhomme.

James and Marlana Prudhomme say they were floored when their children came home from school last week with a strange question. According to the Prudhomme's, the driver of route 20 for Heights Elementary School asked the kids to get permission from their parents so he could slap them. That prompted them to start asking neighbors if they had heard of any similar incidents from their children. They were surprised to learn there was even more to the story.

"There was an incident where the children were driving the bus," said Prudhomme.

Prudhomme's neighbor, who has chosen to remain anonymous because her children still attend Heights elementary, says her daughter witnessed the Prudhomme's eleven-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son driving the school bus.

"Every one of them children and my child was in danger on that bus," said Prudhomme.

"I didn't really believe her so I asked her where did she drive it, and she said she sat on his lap and drove it around the block," said anonymous person.

The Clarkston school district sent out a press release earlier Monday, stating that the driver was merely trying to teach the children how to stop the bus safely, should he become incapacitated.

"When I talked to my daughter, she drove it for a little ways," said Marlana Prudhomme. "And it wasn't to pull off to the side of the road for safety. It was just to drive and same with my son."

The Prudhomme's were even more upset when they learned that the school bus incident happened in October of 2012. They tell us Principal Samantha Ogden apologized for not contacting the parents regarding the incident, but explained that it was a routine safety procedure mandated by the state. Clarkston School District Superintendent Darcy Weisner explains the bus driver didn't follow the proper procedure and the driver has been reprimanded for his actions.

"When you're teaching children how to evacuate from a bus or stop a bus, you do it while the bus is not moving," said Weisner. "And in this case the bus was moving."

Weisner said collective bargaining rules, require the district to follow through with disciplinary guidelines that are outlined in their contract.

"From my standpoint, we've done everything we needed to do," said Weisner. "Could we have done a better job communicating? Probably."

James and Marlana have since taken their four children out of Heights Elementary school and transferred them to a nearby school.