School bus: What the district knew, and when | Timeline

North Kitsap School District Superintendent Patty Page reads a statement Feb. 12 regarding the district
North Kitsap School District Superintendent Patty Page reads a statement Feb. 12 regarding the district's delayed parental notification of alleged sexual abuse on a school bus. 'We clearly failed,' Page said.
— image credit: Richard Walker / Herald

The following information is from investigators' reports regarding alleged sexual activity occurring on a North Kitsap School District bus for students with special needs. According to Superintendent Patty Page, there were between seven and 11 students on the bus at any one time. All students were 11 or younger.

Before March 27, 2015: Two school bus drivers, one with five years’ experience and another with 19 years’ experience, submit reports to the district regarding conduct on their bus: Handwritten notes state, “Bus is unruly,” and “Pants were pulled down.”

March 27, 2015: District transportation specialist Amy Geil notifies special education teacher Terri Marshall that she has spoken with a bus driver and told the driver she can “do bus conduct violations if her special needs students are misbehaving.” Geil said she will provide the bus driver “additional information about behavior management.”

May 27, 2015: Parents of two children with special needs request a meeting with their children’s teacher to discuss sexual behavior their children said they saw on the bus. The children are interviewed by district program administrator Kenneth Aries. A report is filed with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. The bus is equipped with video cameras, and the school district hires an attorney and turns over the bus videos for review. The attorney reviews the videos and advises the school district to turn the videos over to law enforcement.

May 28, 2015: Sheriff’s Deputy Jon Johnson notifies the school district that the prosecuting attorney’s juvenile division would not be intervening. However, the prosecutor requests that Johnson “speak with the alleged boy regarding appropriate behavior.” Johnson meets the boy and his mother that afternoon at the sheriff’s office in Kingston.

May 29, 2015: Aries and special education director Rachel Davenport discuss allowing the student in question to return the beginning of the week.

June 2, 2015: The parents that had contacted the school are advised that the student in question had returned to school, but would not be riding that bus upon return.

Aug. 27, 2015: Poulsbo Police Officer S.E. Ziemann files an investigation report. In it, he writes that he viewed bus video from six days in March and April, and in one video – for April 13 – sees the boy and a girl having what appears to be sexual intercourse “for several minutes until the bus arrived at her stop.” In handwritten notes, the officer writes that the boy exposed himself to others on the bus on two other days.

Sept. 14, 2015: Sheriff’s Detective Ken Smith is asked by the county prosecutor to retrieve the hard drives containing the bus videos from the school district because the videos “may be consider[ed] child pornography.”

Sept. 16, 2015: Smith receives from Page photos of the students that would have been on the bus with the student in question.

Oct. 7, 2015: Smith reviews video from April 24 and notes that the student in question and the girl appear to be having intercourse. “It appears they know what they are doing and that it is wrong as they keep checking on what the bus driver is doing,” Smith writes in his report. More sexual activity involving the two is noted in video for May 8 and May 20.

Oct. 14, 2015: Smith meets with Page, Assistant Superintendent Chris Willits and the bus driver, then files his investigation report.

Oct. 22, 2015: A parent later says Page telephoned her on this date to notify her of the incidents on the bus.

Feb. 11, 2016: Parents speak at a school board meeting, expressing concern that the district notified them of the activity on the bus months after the district was alerted by a parent.

Feb. 12, 2016: At a press conference in the school district offices, Page said the school bus driver is on paid administrative leave. The driver may have not known about sexual activity on the bus because he or she was concentrating on driving, Page said.

Page also said parents weren’t notified earlier because the district didn’t want to tell parents something might have happened “if it didn’t.” She said district officials did not review bus video to see if there was any evidence of sexual activity — and cause for concern for parents — but instead turned them over to law enforcement.

In a prepared statement, she said, “We take our mission very seriously of providing our students with a safe and nurturing environment in which they can learn and grow and in this instance, we clearly failed.”

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