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School bus driver pulled off route after ‘driving mishap involving a student’

By Alex LaCasse, Portsmouth Herald
ThinkStock | BDN
ThinkStock | BDN
A Kittery student was uninjured following a reported “incident” occurring while the student was getting off the school bus on Dec. 8 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

A Kittery student was uninjured following a reported “incident” occurring while the student was getting off the school bus on Dec. 8 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Libby Morin, public affairs officer at the shipyard, said leadership became aware of the incident at approximately 4 p.m. that afternoon and “was informed that a contracted school bus driver had a driving mishap involving a student who had not fully exited the bus prior to departure,” but could not offer additional comment.

“This situation is under investigation by Ledgemere Transportation and the Kittery School Department,” Morin said. “It would be inappropriate for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to comment further regarding this event.”

Kittery Superintendent of Schools Eric Waddell acknowledged an incident occurred when a student-resident of the shipyard was getting off the afternoon bus. Waddell said he was briefed on details by Ledgemere’s local terminal manager Brian Trafton and regional manager Deb Coleman, of parent company Student Transportation Inc., but also said he had not personally viewed the bus’s surveillance video of the incident.

He said the driver has not driven in Kittery since the date of the incident but could not further comment on his employment status because he is an employee of Ledgemere Transportation, which is the school’s transportation contractor.

“We were notified immediately by our transportation contractor, Ledgemere Transportation, out of York. (Trafton) did an excellent job investigating the incident and he worked closely with me,” Waddell said. “The Kittery School District is committed to ensuring a safe, healthful and respectful school culture for our students, and that certainly extends to transportation to and from school. We work closely with Ledgemere Transportation, a subsidiary of Student Transportation, to ensure that our students are transported safely to and from school by highly qualified drivers.”

Waddell said he could not release any information about the involved student including his or her age, citing the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Trafton said he could not comment on any details of the incident, claiming it was a “personnel matter” and would refer any questions to Ledgemere’s legal department.

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