The Tumwater School District is investigating a complaint that a school bus driver mistreated a special needs student.
The mother of 5-year-old Ryen Cornell said her son was getting off a school bus to go to child care last Friday when the driver “aggressively” grabbed the boy and tossed him to the child care worker.
“I’m angry, and I want answers,” Monica Cornell told KOMO News. She said Ryen has mild autism.
An employee at the Scribbles and Giggles Learning Center at 214 Tumwater Blvd. declined to comment for this story.
The school district confirmed that the student was not physically injured during the alleged incident, but statements from child care witnesses “indicate possible inappropriate behavior by the driver.”
School district spokeswoman Laurie Wiedenmeyer said Cornell reported the incident in a voicemail Friday afternoon, but the message was not received by the district’s transportation supervisor until Monday. The district placed the bus driver on paid administrative leave Wednesday after receiving written statements from witnesses at the child care center.
Tumwater police are also investigating.
According to the district, there is video footage from the bus, but about 50 minutes of footage is missing because of an equipment failure that caused the cameras to stop recording before the boy left the bus.
“We worked with the recording equipment company to see if they could determine if any additional footage exists and were told there is not,” according to a district media statement. “In retrospect, we should have removed the driver from service when we learned of the incident on Monday and have reviewed these protocols with our transportation staff.”