Although bus 16 students at Coleytown Middle School did complain to administrators about their bus driver’s sexually inappropriate remarks last Thursday, he was still their bus driver on the way home that afternoon.
At the BoE meeting, parents explained that their children were “terrorized” and that they “arrived home in tears.” Some students even got off the bus early, at the first or second stop.
Jarrett Liotta, a Coleytown Middle School parent, said the incident was traumatic and nearly dangerous.
“The most terrible part of this incident is that our children informed the school that the driver of bus 16 was frightening them and making sexually inappropriate remarks, yet when they left school at the end of the day to go home, he was still driving their bus,” Liotta said.
Interested in Westport's news, events, community bulletins, blogs and businesses? Sign up for the free Westport Patch daily newsletter, "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Liotta said he found it reprehensible that Sandra Evangelista, the district’s transportation coordinator, did not do everything in her power to ensure he would not be driving that afternoon bus route.
Another parent, Roberta Farrell, said that there is a “gap in the procedures surrounding school bus escalations.”
“Our children were forced to listen their bus driver’s guidance on their sexual acts, what they should be doing at their age, as well as information on his own sexual experience,” she said.
Farrell was upset that no parents were notified of the incident and that no request was made to have the driver temporarily removed pending a full investigation.
“The failure on the part of the school and district personnel resulted in our children being terrorized on their return home that day,” Farrell said, adding that many of the middle school students either exited the bus with tears in their eyes or broke down crying when they got inside their house.
Parents like Eileen Ludy said that the principal should have the power to remove a bus driver. Ludy would also like to see the district expand the Safe School Climate Plan to include adults bullying children. All of the parents at the board meeting agreed that the bus driver should not have been driving their children home that afternoon after a complaint had been made to the principal.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Elliot Landon said the matter is under investigation and that the driver has been removed from the bus route.
“We will take whatever action necessary to ensure that such an incident is not allowed to happen again,” Landon said. “Once the investigation is complete we will have a full report for the board.”