A Word On The Bus Incident
I would like to address the matter of the bus driver who was arrested
for DUI while driving a bus and the seemingly lack of any action by the
Loudon County Board Of Education.
On September 30th at 1:40 pm, board members received an email from director Honeycutt that a bus driver had become ill and had to be removed from her bus earlier that morning.
Later that same day, the News Herald and WVLT broke the story that the driver was actually under the influence and had been arrested.
The next day, October 1st at 4:42 pm board members received an email from director Honeycutt informing us of the bus driver's arrest.
Immediately, some board members began asking for a special called meeting to discuss the incident. No meeting was ever set.
On the 14th and 15th board members received an email from Director Honeycutt directing us not to discuss the matter in an "open meeting" and to refer all inquires to our legal council due to "possible litigation."
With in days of the incident, rumors began to circulate that the driver had actually had previous serious episodes with prescription drug abuse and that some board administrators had knowledge of this yet allowed the driver to continue to operate a bus and work at Loudon High School.
Several board members continued to ask for a meeting to discuss the issue and review policies.
After advising board members not to discuss the incident in an open meeting, on the 15th the board attorney responded to an ABC News request for details of the incident.
On the 23rd, the News Sentinel broke the story that administrators did in fact have fore knowledge of the drivers drug abuse and allowed her to continue to drive a bus.
No meeting has yet been scheduled to address the matter.
These are the details as I know them.
As a member of the Loudon County Board Of Education, I am outraged as to how this issue has been handled from the beginning. Obviously there are some serious problems with policies that would allow a bus driver who is known to the administration to have a serious drug abuse problem to continue to work in any capacity much less a bus driver for the school system.
Whether true or not, the perception is that the board administration is intentionally keeping the board members in the dark about this matter by refusing to hold a meeting to discuss this issue.
If in fact what we have learned is true and that those responsible did in fact know of the driver's past drug abuse and allowed her to continue operating a bus and working at the school, then those responsible should be terminated immediately. There is absolutely no excuse for this to have happened. A decision of this magnitude would clearly bring into question the judgment of those who allowed this to happen.
It is certainly unfortunate that those in charge made decisions that endangered the lives of so many children and the public in general. As board members, we are charged with many responsibilities pertaining to the school system but none greater than the safety of those children in our care and custody. Policies that would allow for such a serious matter to happen must be changed and changed now.
As a member of the Loudon County Board Of Education, I wish to personally apologize to all the children, parents and citizens of Loudon County who have been negatively impacted by this incident and I vow that I will do everything in my power as a board member in hopes that something like this doesn't happen again.