A Washington bus driver who allegedly bullied one of his disabled student passengers has been placed on leave for what the school is calling an "inappropriate" incident.
The unidentified driver is accused of verbally abusing and inciting other children to bully a 14-year-old developmentally delayed middle school student, The Olympian reported
Though her daughter Mariah has been complaining about her bus driver for more than a year, mom Louanne Bay never took the girl's stories seriously until last week when Washington Middle School officials called her.
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"She says 'Mommy, he's mean to me. He says things.' And I'm like 'Mariah, go into your room and take a breath.' I'm thinking she doesn't want to follow directions," Bay told KING5.com Seattle
The school told Bay that a video had emerged of an "inappropriate" incident involving Mariah and the driver.
"The bus driver's supervisor let me see the video and it was hard. I started to cry when the bus driver was laughing saying he was going to bring a bee hive on the bus," Bay said, adding that her daughter has a fear of bees.
"You can see Mariah, she's at the back of the bus and she's saying 'Bob, can you please turn down the radio?' and he's sitting there laughing," Bay continued. "You can clearly hear the driver calling my daughter names, encouraging other children to bully her. All of the children on the bus are special needs with a variety of disabilities, which makes it even worse."
The Olympia School District has placed the driver on leave while it investigates the incident.
"The district is treating this matter very seriously," district spokeswoman Rebecca Japhet told The Olympian in a statement. "We learned about the inappropriate verbal exchanges last week and immediately put the driver on leave. The district is now conducting an investigation. In the meantime, staff is committed to working with this family to ensure the student feels safe and supported on her way to school, at school and on the way home from school."
This isn't the first time an Olympia School District bus driver has come under fire. Former driver Gary Shafer was convicted in 2011 of molesting three kindergarten-aged children while they rode on district buses, according to The Olympian.
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