Parents of Draper children fire off scathing letter to Canyons School District

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  • Mormonmama0106 Phoenix, AZ
    June 8, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    As a school bus driver, this is one of the reasons that I am so grateful that my district recently installed cameras on its buses. They protect the children and the driver.

    As for the driver performing his route the morning of the 24th, I can tell you that many routes begin long before supervisors arrive in the morning, and the transportation supervisors tend to come in earlier than most other district offices are open (my route, for example, starts a full hour before most supervisors arrive and a full TWO HOURS before the main district office opens; and there are routes that start nearly an hour before mine!). Depending on who the message was left with, by the time that person checked their messages it could have been hours into the driver's route. While I feel for the parents involved (as I am a parent myself), their fury at the district in this particular instance is misplaced and displays a lack of understanding of how bus routes work.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    May 28, 2014 9:09 p.m.

    483bzac, even if he did drive on the morning of the 24th, there is no cause for a lawsuit against the District unless he molested a child on the morning of the 24th (which no one is claiming). That could be easily ascertained by looking at the videos.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    May 28, 2014 2:07 p.m.

    Everyone is getting quite upset about the fact that he drove his route one more time after the initial call was made. Please go back and look at the timeline before being so outraged. Someone left a message at the district on the evening of the 23rd, and the person reviewing those messages on the morning of the 24th initiated the process to bring him in and suspend him. Bus routes begin before 8am, and the office probably reviewed the messages after 9am. It's likely he already had a bus full of kids when the message was first received by the district.

  • 483bzac West Valley City, UT
    May 28, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    @redwings. That is where the dispute is. Per the DN article, the School says he drove on the morning of the 23, not the 24th. (The School District says that this was an after hours report to them on the 23rd) Parents are saying he drove on the morning of the 24th. Indeed, this would be cause to hold the School District criminally or civilly liable if it is proven the bus driver drove on the 24th after they knew of the allegation.

    May 28, 2014 11:36 a.m.

    If I were a parent, I wouldn't accept the "not enough" money reason. All children, especially before they are speaking age and handicapped in particular, are magnets for predators. The bus should be equipped with cameras, but nothing makes up for diligence. The abuses that have been alleged here, are preventable.

    May 28, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    If a child were to go to this same elementary school with bruises, the school's administration could have that child taken to a doctor for an examination and involve DCFS and the police without any notification to the parents. Then, the parents are put in a "guilty until proven innocent" situation. However, a bus driver molesting kids gets to drive his route before he is suspended? Really?

    Teachers, bus drivers, administrators all ultimately work for the parents. This has been forgotten in school administration. As parents, we should be able to "fire" those who do not perform.

    Luckily, my wife and I "fired" the school system and now home school our boys...

  • Clarissa Layton, UT
    May 28, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    It was suggested that volunteers or parents ride on the bus to help make sure everything is okay, but this will never happen as the district would be liable for the volunteers and parents. The parents at our school tried to get a group together to help cross a street which the city determined didn't need a crossing guard. They were denied permission because of liability.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    May 28, 2014 9:31 a.m.

    The Canyons School District Superintendent does herself no favors by constantly talking about how they followed district "procedure" in TV interviews. Parents are wounded. Kids are hurt. She talks "procedure." It is like waiving red in front of a bull which has already been lanced.

    Smart woman. Dumb choice. Clearly, "smart" does not mean wise (or compassionate).

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    May 28, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    To PhoenixAZ - you hit the nail on the head.

  • PhoenixAZ phoenix, AZ
    May 28, 2014 8:05 a.m.

    I worked in offices of a school district for 30 years. I learned during that time and worse as the years went by, it's not about children or children's education of safety in school. For the school districts, it's all about money. Pure, plain, and simple.

  • aghast SYRACUSE, UT
    May 28, 2014 7:22 a.m.

    "Ultimately", "in the big picture", "with a little foresight" - it would have been better for the school district to put an aide on every special needs bus. This is going to cost them a big penny in legal bills and lawsuits. "Nothing new here" - so why didn't the school district anticipate and use caution.

    I have been a bus driver - I don't see how this could happen. Why is this not a capital case?

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 28, 2014 7:14 a.m.

    While I'll agree that the driver should have been suspended pending investigation as soon as the allegations were made, there's no reason to notify parents of the allegations until the investigation finds evidence to support them and lots of reasons not to. Remember the McMartin preschool case? As soon as word of the accusations got out, parents began interrogating their own children and, essentially, planting the seeds for false accusations. That's how witch hunts begin, and soon children were coming forward with baseless claims that eventually were found to be false. Kids are impressionable and will inadvertently make up stories to support what overeager parents are suggesting to them. This doesn't serve the cause of justice at all. The police and prosecutors are reviewing all the video records of this driver and should be able to conduct the investigation without kids being coached by parents.

  • ajas Herriman, UT
    May 28, 2014 7:11 a.m.

    As a former teacher who taught special education students, the reason the school district is not admitting any guilt is that to do so would open them up to all kinds of lawsuits. They will continue to deny. They know their liability is greater with special ed students because of federal law. This is probably the reason they were not more forthcoming with the parents. Sad. Their first duty should be the students. Not CYA.

  • gwenmangelson Rogersville, MO
    May 28, 2014 6:32 a.m.

    I stand with the parents on this issue! If I were them I would send a copy to the city council and police departments also and post it in the local newspaper!

  • Rosemarie Buckeye Powell, OH
    May 28, 2014 6:01 a.m.

    After having spent time as an Assistant Director of a childcare center on a military base, I an attest to practiced policies and procedures regarding suspected child abuse in any case: IMMEDIATE REMOVAL of the alleged perpetrator pending further investigation. In other words, I don't believe the school district acted in the best interest of the children. The driver should have been notified when the school district first heard of the allegation that he will not report to work in the morning to drive the bus pending completion of the investigation. He should have either been suspended, or put on alternative duty. The district should have erred on the part of the children, not the driver.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 27, 2014 11:51 p.m.

    You're right Woodysworld about the Special Education funding issue but I think there is a general issue here that we don't want to fund education properly. It would be great to have aides on all buses because heck, I want the bus driver to focus on the road and not have to worry about what is going on the bus which freedomforthepeople points out can be sort of like Lord of the Flies. But after the bus ride is over we want to shove kids in classes of 30 or more in elementary and 40 or more in high school and hope everything works out. We need to do better...

  • 483bzac West Valley City, UT
    May 27, 2014 10:47 p.m.

    This is possibly a horrible case but the school followed procedure by immediately suspending the bus driver and notifying police. A criminal conviction should still precede the guilty verdict of the driver by the parents. (unless they are on the jury)

  • Troy06 OREM, UT
    May 27, 2014 10:32 p.m.

    Yes I think the parents would pay.

    The district should have discovered this scum bag a long time ago. Just like the manager of a team in any work place is required to know what is happening on their team. C'mon, take a couple hours per week and review film. No excuse can make up for this horrific crime.

  • woodysworld Sandy, UT
    May 27, 2014 10:22 p.m.

    Thanks for your comment Howard Beal. One thing you have failed to consider is states and school districts get extra funds for special needs children. Also no bus driver with special needs children should be without an aid for safety everyone. Our district has always had aids on the bus. This can simply be a parent or volunteer.

  • freedomforthepeople Sandy, UT
    May 27, 2014 10:10 p.m.

    I've never been willing to put my kids on the school bus. I rode one as a child and I know what 60 unsupervised kids are capable of. Nothing terrible happened to me - but I was always aware that I was unprotected and on my own. Turning your child over to "the state" to transport and educate for many, many hours daily is something parents want to be able to do for many reasons, but the truth is, there will always be negative consequences when you expect someone else to supervise and manage your kids for many hours - some you see, some you don't. I am not blaming the parents - I am just saying that you really can't have it all. You just get to pick the sacrifices you will make or won't make - and there are consequences to every decision.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 27, 2014 9:20 p.m.

    I truly feel bad for the abuse that occurred but aides cost money. Bottom line, are the parents themselves and the public at large ready to pony up for these services and to improve education in general. It is sad sometimes that we get what we pay for and we should be doing better in regards to our children.