August 5, 2002
Attacks on buses were a big deal
At the end of the 2001-2002 school year in Northshore, several buses at a particular location were attacked. KING 5 News reported that this was "no big deal and it was just kids out having some fun." I have driven a school bus for the past five years and am very proud of the job we do to support our educational system in the Northshore School District.
It is a tremendous responsibility to transport students safely to and from school in a big yellow bus 180 days per school year. Much like the students, drivers also anticipate the last day of school as we reflect back on a year of driving in hectic traffic and road construction everywhere, dealing with student issues on board our buses and weather conditions that can be quite unforgiving.
This year the last day of school was more bitter than sweet for the drivers who drive out of Timbercrest Junior High. As we left the school and drove through Aspenwood fully loaded with students to take home, several students in trucks from Woodinville High School blocked our buses, preventing us from proceeding forward or backward.
Some of these students were wearing masks and they began throwing eggs and shooting paintballs at the buses. One student actually jumped onto the front bumper of the lead bus and hung on the mirrors, putting that driver in an extremely dangerous position and creating the potential for disaster.
The actions taken by these students are a "big deal" for the following reasons:
1. The safety of our students on our bus and the driver was severely compromised and threatened by the inability to see clearly out of our bus windows to drive.
2. Due to the damage that dried egg and paintball splats cause to the finish on the buses, pressure wash stations had to be set up to remove the egg and paint. Our mechanics had to crawl on top of the buses to wash this stuff off which was dangerous and jeopardized their personal safety as well.
3. To date the cost for manpower, labor, and damage repairs is upward of $4,000. Is this cost absorbed by the district or is it passed along to the taxpayers of Northshore?
4. They attacked our buses in a "terrorist manner" and with the memories of Sept.11 fresh in our minds, this attack felt like being in a war zone because there were so many eggs and paintballs hitting the buses and windows. Many students on our buses were terrified and just wanted to get home. This attack was a form of terrorism and should not be tolerated!
5. Several yards in Aspenwood were ruined by the students who drove their trucks off the road onto the grass and by the garbage left behind by these students.
6. I would like to know the responsibility the local grocery store has for selling students so many eggs. I believe KING 5 News reported that 900 dozen eggs were sold. What is the point of limiting customers any other times for grocery items?
7. When a driver parks his bus at the end of their day after having delivered all students home safely, there is a sense of pride for the job we do each day. Along with our pride being under attack that day, there was also that balance between safety and disaster which could have turned fatal in a moment's time.
The actions taken by these students are a big deal. License plates were recorded and turned in to district security personnel, and my hope is that those students associated with this horrendous display of lack of concern for the safety of others and for the property of the Northshore School District will be prosecuted for putting the students I transport and me in such a dangerous situation.
From a Northshore School bus driver