Parents angry they didn't learn sooner of alleged sexual misconduct on special needs school bus

POULSBO, Wash, -- Parents in Kitsap County expressed anger and frustration that they didn't learn until five months later of  alleged sexual misconduct on their children's special needs school bus.

A Poulsbo mom said a special needs student forced himself on several students for months while they rode the school bus.

April Ferguson confronted the North Kitsap School Board on Thursday night because she believes the district did not do enough to protect these special needs students.

Ferguson claims the sexual misconduct allegations stem from several bus rides between the fall of 2014 and the spring of 2015.

Ferguson said her son witnessed sexual acts between an 11-year-old student and other kids on the bus. She said that student forced himself on several kids, both boys and girls, while on the bus to and from school.

The district said as soon as it found out about the allegations, they contacted the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, which launched an investigation.

“The district should have been communicating to the parents because these are kids that can’t tell mom what’s going on. The only way we would have known is for the school district to be diligent with communicating with us,” said Ferguson, the parent of a 7-year-old autistic boy.

Parents are angry because they didn’t get notified about what allegedly happened until almost five months later.

“We found out and turned it over to law enforcement, and when law enforcement is handling an investigation, the district is not allowed to interfere with that, and we’re not allowed to conduct our own. So, we allowed them to do their work and when they were completed with it and gave the identity of the students involved on the bus, we immediately notified parents,” said Patty Page, North Kitsap School District superintendent.

“The school district should have given us enough information so we could make the decision as parents on whether we need to get our children into therapy, instead of withholding that information,” added Ferguson.

Page said the student at the center of the allegations has since moved out of the district.

It is now looking at how this happened and said the bus driver was focused on driving and unaware of the activity going on in the bus.

The district said it is doing its own investigation and is changing protocol for students riding buses to make sure all their students stay safe.