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School District releases statement on bus incident

On Thursday, the West Fargo School District released the following statement regarding Wednesday's bus incident, in which a driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI after driving into a snow bank:

On Wednesday, Feb. 2, Bus No. 56, bound for Aurora Elementary to pick up students, went into a snow bank. The driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Bus No. 56 is operated for West Fargo Public Schools by Valley Bus Services. Forty of the district's 52 routes are owned and operated by the district transportation services, and the remainder of the routes are contracted with Valley Bus Services.

West Fargo Public Schools' contractual relationship with Valley Bus Services contains similar quality assurance requirements as the district employs in screening and hiring bus drivers:

• Compliance with Department of Transportation regulations, including pre-employment, random, post-accident, and reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing.

• Background checks performed to standards comparable with the background check procedures performed by WFPS on its own prospective employees.

• North Dakota DOT driver's record checks.

A review of the process used in hiring the driver of Bus #56 indicates that all procedures were followed. The driver was hired and began the route less than a week before the incident.

Drivers and buses for Valley Bus Services are not dispatched out of the district's transportation facility. They are dispatched from Valley Bus Services in Fargo. Valley Bus personnel indicate that several persons interacted with the driver immediately before his departure on his route, and none noticed any unusual behavior or signs of impairment.

West Fargo Public School District Transportation Services are committed to safety for our students above all else. The district will continue to investigate the incident, and insure procedures are in place to prevent this unprecedented circumstance from occurring again.